We caught up with acclaimed lecturer and photographer, Eugene van der Merwe to gain some insights as he moves through a life of teaching and photographing. Read our Q & A below:
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Which photographers influenced you, and how did they influence your thinking, photographing, and career path?
Too many to mention, but Ansel Adams’ perfectionism is a constant reference point.
Which South African photographer do you admire?
Quite a few and all for different reasons. Koos van der Lende, for his dedication to a very precise way of crafting images and building his entire lifestyle around his photography. Martin Osner for his broad skillset, and dedication to his own art unencumbered by academic art baggage. Obie Oberholzer for his technicolor vision, and his quirky way of thinking and speaking about experiencing the world through photography.
What technology/software/camera gear can’t you go without?
My Ebony large format camera
What motivates you to continue taking pictures economically, politically, intellectually or emotionally?
My own need to hone my craft, and making photographs that are of value to clients and viewers. Oh, and the fact I need to pay bills…
How do you educate yourself to take better pictures?
Practice, practice, practice, practice, practice, practice… And reading, writing, teaching and practice
Among your works, which one is your favourite? Why?
No particular image, but my large format landscapes as a collection come closest to manifesting my ideal photographic process
What is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?
No one is waiting for you to arrive as the next genius photographer
What would you like to achieve through your photography?
Inspiring and helping other photographers, and making images that have lasting value for clients and viewers
Tell us a little about the most recent body of work you have recently compiled.
I don’t generally make bodies of work, but a nice little set of images, large format portraits of some f my full time students made with paper negs and lith printed, is a bit of a favourite. They’ve been lost though, so their lasting value is in doubt…
How do you go about making a body of work?
I’m more of a one-image-at-a-time type. When bodies of work do emerge, they usually emerge in retrospect.
If you were to advise your younger self on the work will be making – what advice would you give?
You can never shoot enough, and your technique and vision is never as complete as you think it is.
What is your ideal / vision for the Cape Town School of Photography?
A school giving the highest level of technical and creative photographic instruction.
Learn more about his Lighting Composite course coming up in September 2016 by clicking here,
And more about the Perfect Portrait Open Crit session here.
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