Southern Light is my Internet photography home . I use the natural Southern African light for most of my photographs and hence the name. "My studio is all around me. I have the biggest studio in the world".
The guys who make movies have 1 to 2 hours to tell their story, I have a fraction of a second...
Sometimes nature throws misfits into the system. I am one of those, born into the heart of darkness, into the old day apartheid and puritan South Africa with nowhere else to go. I was a real royal pain in the ass, too clever for my own good and questioning everything on display, the governement, the church, the entire system (and we had quite a system). I considered myself to be one of the very few sane human beings and most of the others around me to be Aliens.
I was quite good at art in school but went on to study engineering at the insistence of everybody else. Not that I was bad at art, but at the time, art was not seen as an occupation for men who were serious about a career. I earned my mechanical engineering degree from the University of Pretoria in 1983 and is still professionally involved in engineering. I have been involved in the design of armaments, train brakes, ships, mining equipment and some serious kick ass stuff in company management (where I implemented some serious Marxist ideas and pissed of the agents of the beast with their regulation grey suits and red ties, lets just call them the thermometer brigade). I also have diplomas in Systems Engineering and Business Management but absolutely nothing academic in terms of photography, the one creative activity that keeps me sane.
To satisfy my creative needs I started photography as a serious hobby while still at university and was co-founder of one of Pretoria's most active photography clubs. I quickly found a niche in Glamour Photography owing to my love of beauty, composition, and technical skills. With glamour I could create and manipulate the outcome and not just reproduce what is there as in nature and wildlife photography. My sexy first ex-wife was a willing subject so that is the way it went.
I hate studios and the sterileness that goes with it. I like the Nit and the Gritt that goes with a real location. So a handheld light meter it is and sometimes a long lense so that you do not have to stand in the horsedung for that perfect shot.
I am increasingly using my computer skills (from engineering) to add to my darkroom skills (which is all safely packed away as I do not realy like the smell of chemicals) in creating out of the ordinary glamour photographs. The debate of what is art and what is photography does not exist for me (we will leave that to the photography clubs). All pictures that contains a story (or rather, where a whole movie is distilled into one single still picture) is art and the camera, darkroom, computer, paintbrush, etc. are all just tools to be used to achieve the final result. If my toaster can take a desent photograph I will use it.
If I have to blame something for me being me it is probably my belief system that is steeped in hermetic thought. From my teens I found a home in the existentialist philosophy and later in holism, hermetism and gnosticism (whow,what a mouthful). I quite liked the idea that everything forms part of the whole, that everything and everyone possesses beauty and goodness and that it is there to be discovered and nurtured. I made an early separation with the dogmatic church owing to their basic believe that all people are born in sin and thus naturally bad and doomed. My management style was the same (when I was still involved in organised and legalized crime) and I believe that dogma is the worst demotivator of people in their careers and personal life.
Photography used to bring me in constant confrontation with South Africans' puritan and dogmatic culture (the rest could not really care if I existed or not). The only hate mail I used to receive were from fellow South Africans although things are improving as South Africa is slowly moving out of its dictatorial/Calvanist mindset. It is a sad world that we are living in where most people have had their capability to think, experiment and question totally conditioned out of them. Anything that does not fit into the "normal" frame of reference is by definition bad and immoral.
Apart from photography I love cooking Mediterranean, North African and Eastern dishes and view cooking as an art and not something to do in order to fill your stomach. One of my favorite sayings is that when I get home after work, I pour some red wine, take out some tomatoes, chili and garlic and then decide what I will have with it. I have also tried my hand at herb gardening, beer brewing and wine making. I used to dabble in oil painting but rarely find the time nowadays. My other great love is music with a rather catholic taste. My neighbors think I am crazy as I will happily change from Led Zeppelin to Mahler. Anything with heart, soul or guts is great and I thus have a fair collection off Blues, Rock, Classics, Jazz and anything that tickles my fancy. In my quest for musical perfection I have also designed a number of great loudspeaker systems over the years and am quite happy with my latest transmission line creation.
The one thing I acknowledge not to be good at are personal relationships. I have been married twice but now share my house with 2 dogs and a girlfirend and have been at it for quite awhile now. During my single periods I have always had dogs for company as they are much easier to live with. "The difference between a wife and a dog is that the later you come home, the happier your dog is to see you."