Teagan van Zyl

2020

Teagan is a 19-year-old photographer based in Cape Town, South Africa. Recently he has taken the leap from practicing his talent as a hobby to pursuing it as a full-time career.

Inspired by his surroundings, Teagan’s work draws from elements of skateboarding, music, art, and fashion culture. This leads to a great diversity in his style as well as approach to making images.

Energized by people and with his main focus being portraiture, Teagan has big dreams of photographing all over the globe, making work that is both progressive and honest.

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

PHOTOGRAPHER'S INSTAGRAM

YEAR-END INTERVIEW

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

When I began I was very interested in fashion and portraiture, things have not changed one bit. If anything my love for these two genres has grown immensely.

Analogue (film) or Digital photography and why?

Analogue all the way. If I could, I would never touch a digital camera again. I am a very hands on person and I fell in love with the tactility of film the second I started using it. The suspense of getting film back never quite goes away and the unknowingness of whether an image came out the way you want it is the most magical feeling, because you have to trust yourself enough to know you will still get results.

What subject matter do you find yourself drawn to?

All of my favorite images contain people, so I guess portraiture is my calling. I do tend to photograph anything and everything that catches my eye, but it’s my portraits that excite me the most. 

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

Experimental, Sensitive, Unconventional.

Why did you choose to study photography?

I have always been passionate about making images ever since my grandpa introduced me to my first camera. Since then photography has always been a part of my life and it just seemed natural to pursue it once I finished high school. I chose to study as I needed to learn the necessary skills to push my hobby into a full-time career.

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

Definitely my documentary project. It was such an amazing experience learning more about the crazy life my family friend has lived and it was made all the more exciting when I was able to use the school’s medium format camera to tell his story.

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

The work of Japanese photographer, Kwannam, is a massive inspiration to me. He makes use of very clean, simplistic compositions as well as muted pastel colours. I just love it!

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

I would say I had a pretty good idea of what I was getting myself into, but something I did not foresee is how plans never quite work out. You can only plan so much and the rest weighs on one’s ability to be flexible and quick thinking.

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

I would say learning to use all the studio equipment has been one of the most valuable lessons I have learned through this course. Time management is an ongoing struggle and it is safe to say that the constant deadlines and submissions this course presents have led me to improve greatly.

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

As cheesy as it sounds, when I walk around I see everything as a potential photograph. When I see an interesting composition my mind instantly starts to wonder if it would make a good photograph.

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