Maralise van der Merwe


Born and raised in Cape Town, Maralise van der Merwe, fell in love with photography during her matric year (2019) when she joined the school’s photography club.

She decided to pursue a career in photography by enrolling to study at the Orms Cape Town School of Photography. She shares that studying the medium has changed her view of the world entirely.

Van der Merwe currently enjoys making self-portraits along with portraiture as a whole. She is perpetually documenting the contents of her world.

View their photographs produced during this year, along with their year-end interview below:



When you started the programme what genre of photography were you interested in and has it shifted over the course of the year?

I would always say that I was into Event photography more than anything else, but ever since doing portraiture at college, I got more drawn to it.

Analogue (film) or Digital photography and why?

Digital Photography. I really don’t have anything against film photography or anything, but for me personally, I just like to know what I’m doing with my camera and be able to see the outcome of my photographs.

What subject matter do you find yourself drawn to?

I love to document everything I see around me. Even if it’s not something that I’m proud of showing, I would still document it just to keep for myself.  

Portraiture is also something that I would never stop doing. I like being creative when it comes to portraiture.

Pick three words/phrases that describe your approach to the medium?

Creative. Trying new things. Exciting.

Why did you choose to study photography?

I never would’ve thought that I’d be studying photography. I have always been the creative kind of person that can’t sit around in the house the whole day or be working in an office one day. I always followed this photographer named Brandon Woelfel and thought “how I would love to be doing that one day”, and that’s where I am right now.

What has been the most noteworthy shoot/project you have done this year?

I’d say that studio portraiture work so far. I have done this beautiful Black and White portrait that I myself can say that I’m proud of.

Who is your biggest photographic influence at the moment and how?/why?

To be completely honest, I really don’t have one specific person that’s my biggest creative influence. There is multiple people’s work that I look up to. To name a few, Peter Mckinnon, Brandon Woelfel, North Borders (Mike).

What has been your biggest misconception about photography as a practice?

My biggest misconception that I ever made about photography is that; a better camera always makes a better photograph.

What is the most valuable thing you have learned from the course?

There are too many things to list everything, but if I have to say the most valuable thing that I’ve personally learned is that there will always be deadlines. No matter where you go or what you do, in the real world or in school. Time is valuable.

How has photography shifted the way that you navigate the world?

I’d say that since doing photography I have noticed a lot more things, things that I never would’ve picked up on before studying. I always have my camera on me, so wherever I go my camera comes along. I navigate the world through my camera