South African born Louis Daniel Botha first discovered his love of photography while studying medicine. Although he still divides his time between these two occupations, his photography caught our eye with black and white editorial images that you don’t see every day.
Going through your website we can see that you’re equally good at shooting fashion and portraits – two very different genres. What would you say is the secret of shooting both genres well?
Initially, I saw the two genres as separate, but the more I shoot the more I realise that they’re very much intertwined. It’s something I’m working on, as a signature of sorts, to combine fashion and portraiture. I believe the person comes first, then the clothing. That way you have a union of two elements. I am always more fulfilled, creatively, when I have a good rapport with the person I’m working with. Even when the clothing is exceptionally well-constructed, it feels hollow, almost pointless if I didn’t connect with my subject.
Some of your images look as if it’s done on film. Do you shoot analogue as well as digital or do you edit the images to make it look that way?
I mostly shoot digital but will, at times, shoot film. It depends. And my retouching does involve elements to give that “film” look. Logistically, digital makes more sense, but in an ideal world with infinite available time, I would always shoot film. There is definitely a profound uniqueness to film that can’t be replicated.
Have you printed any of your work? If so what for and would you recommend photographers to print their work?
I have printed my work mainly for personal use, but am hoping to do several exhibitions in the coming months. I most definitely recommend photographers to print their work. When you hold an image that you’ve taken, it has tangible value. It can’t be compared to looking at it on a computer screen or even worse, a phone screen.
What do you look for in a printing company?
Quality, consistency, reliability, affordability and timeliness.
What is the importance of social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook and Twitter?
It is an invaluable tool for my line of work. It’s the means by which I network with people locally as well as internationally. The best part is that it eliminates a lot of problems that we faced with creating brochures, etc. for traditional advertising. Use it wisely and for a specific purpose – it’s easy to get lost in the maelstrom of social media.
What gear do you use?
I used Canon for several years but recently decided to invest in a Fujifilm GFX 50R with the GF 32-64mm f/4 R zoom lens. I felt it necessary at this point to upgrade to medium format. I use a Manfrotto tripod (mostly when shooting portraiture). When it comes to additional lighting, I use Profoto equipment and on-camera TTL flash units.
If you could only use one lens, which would it be and why?
The Fujifilm GF 32-64mm f/4 since it’s a new system of which the lens offers me a fairly wide range of options, and it’s sharp. I enjoy shooting wide, even with portraits.
How much post-processing do you do?
It varies greatly. For portraits, it can take anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours.
Please tell us what influenced your decision to explore a career in photography?
It was a matter of deciding what it is that I feel passionate about, but also being able to actually make a living (without wondering where the next meal would come from). The idea of waking up in the morning and being certain that your purpose in life has been determined is what motivates me.
If you could shoot any public figure or celebrity, who will it be and why?
There are actors that I admire and would appreciate working with at some point. One is Sir Daniel Day-Lewis which is, of course, a very far-fetched dream. Also Timothée Chalamet. Both of these individuals are incredibly talented; one has and one is in the process of shaking the world of film.