What is your favourite genre to shoot?
I suppose that my photography can be categorised under the general heading of fine art. I shoot extreme multiple exposures of urban and cityscapes and modern art type abstract photography. I consider my work to be expressionistic by nature.
How do you go from conceptualising to action (photographing the subject) to result?
Well, let me start out by saying that, in developing my own style, I spent almost four years studying various photography genres and then categorising them into those I liked and those I did not. (Please understand that I do not mean to say that there is anything wrong with the genres that I did not like, they just did not appeal to me.)
Once I had narrowed that down, I then began concentrating on what I wanted to do as an artist. I then narrowed down the genres even more to support my vision. I spent a lot of time trying out various multiple exposure techniques and post-processing styles until I achieved the result that appealed to me.
The work that I put into the above has made my conceptualisation process quite simple now, because I know what scenes and what conditions tend to favour the result that I generally desire. This allows me to plan ahead when going on outings to take pictures. I can ensure that the place that I travel to has a fairly substantial number of subjects within a fairly confined area so that I can maximise output in the shortest time frame.
What kind of post-production do you do on your photographs and what tools do you use to get to the result?
I generally try to get the lighting and angles correct in-camera. However, given the extreme number of exposures I use to create my images, sometimes the exposure needs a tweak. Then, I will use Lightroom CC to do the initial exposure corrections and do the layering of the images in Photoshop CC. Unfortunately, my camera is not advanced enough to do the number of multiple exposures that I tend to use per image. I sometimes add small colour swatches into the images to ensure that they fit into the collections for which they were intended.
Are there any photographers you absolutely adore and draw inspiration from?
Yes, I really appreciate and admire the work of Stephanie Jung, Idris Khan and Pep Ventosa. They are all multiple exposure photographers and in developing my own style, I carefully analysed all their published images. I did not want to merely copy them, but I did want to consider their processes and then modify that to come up with a style of my own. Although each of them uses multiple exposures as their tool, their individual style leads to vastly differing images, as do, hopefully, my own.
Is there a specific message you want to convey with your photographs, and how do you get that message across? What is YOUR story?
I try not to convey any overt messages in my work. The reason for this is that each of the artistic expressions of our experiences is jaded by not only the artist’s subjective personal experiences but also by the viewer’s equally jaded personal experiences. That is why art, in any form, is so wonderful and diverse, because it engenders different reactions and feelings in, not only in the individuals creating it but in each individual receiving it.
Having said that however, I have spent most of my adult life as a trial advocate where I experience the world around me as being relatively dark and grim and governed rigidly by rules and regulations and, accordingly, I wanted my art to depict the world around me as chaotic to a degree, yet brightly coloured and beautiful. I consider my photography to be expressionistic in nature and although it sometimes reflects my own rigidity and obsessive compulsivity, it does express the world more as I would like to see it than what it really is.
For some inspiration for our upcoming photographers, how did you get from being an aspiring photographer to doing it as a full-time career?
Well, I have not yet managed to make the jump to a full-time photographer, although having sold some of my works, I suppose I could be categorised as a professional photographer. All I can say is that you must spend time considering what you enjoy as a photographer. Many of us today are in the habit of wanting instant gratification, but there are things in life (such as photography) that need more time to flourish. The time that you invest in your photography early on in your career will be the time you will save later on.
Lastly, and this is not true for everyone’s business, but take photographs you enjoy. I can think of nothing worse than spending a lifetime taking photographs that you hate. We all need to pay the bills and of necessity, we will invariably have to take photographs of things that we do not necessarily like or in a genre that we do not enjoy, but make the time to spend taking the photographs you enjoy as well.
What gear can you not be without?
I am one of those people who is not very tied up by the latest gear and gadgets. I was once told by my mentor that you should use the faults in the equipment that you have to your advantage, and I have fully adopted that in my photographic journey. I have even photographed, some of what I consider to be my best works with a cell phone. So, I guess the answer is: I cannot be without a camera, the rest is just bells and whistles.
In terms of printing and mounting/framing, what do you like and why? What value does it add to your work?
I have chosen to print my existing work on Ilford Gallerie Fine Art textured silk paper. Although much of my work is already fairly textured in itself, this paper adds an extra dimension to the texturing and the warmth in the paper itself give the work a slightly brighter feel.
Insofar as mounting/framing is concerned, I did all my work to date in gloss gallery DiaMount®. This adds a wonderful selling point to my work, in that the pigment of the print is protected against UV exposure and furthermore gives the work a contemporary feel. I have, in my limited edition works, made provision for both a DiaMount® range an a more traditional framed, but archival range.
For more information please email [email protected].
This is one of my limited-edition photographs that form part of the Saturatis Collection. It is an extreme multiple exposure photography of a casino on the South Coast of KwaZulu-Natal. In the Saturatis Collection, I was particularly enamoured by the hidden colours and explicit chaos which exists within the urban environment. The buildings individually contain certain rigidities and regularities, but within their environment, there is a chaotic nature.
In photographing the urban landscapes and architecture, I wished to stamp my own style upon the photographs by accentuating the vague, hidden colours. They do not grace the naked eye and inattentive mind with their presence, so I exaggerated the chaos by applying my multiple exposure processing techniques.
A Street in Johannesburg
This is a multiple exposure photograph from my Stratis Collection, which is a collection of photographs, a mix of repetitive elements and more chaotic elements of humans and vehicles. The colours are subdued and yet subtly beautiful. There is also a lovely interplay between light and shadow.
This is one of the multiple exposure photographs from my Delirium Collection. The idea that I wrestled with, in this study, was to create the equivalent of the ink blotches used in psychiatric practice some times. I wanted to create a study in which each photograph would consist of bold colours and shapes but would hold within it differing interpretations to each viewer. Some may experience solitude while others experience distress. Some may experience happiness while others experience sadness. And some may experience comfort while others may experience menace.
I undertook this study in Johannesburg. I walked the streets, and in order to get paint for my photographs, sought out graffiti. I actively photographed only small portions of any whole image to ensure that I did not steal work from any of the very talented graffiti artists who have worked in the city. I then took those small individual portions, which I photographed, and used them in varying multiple exposures to “paint” the images in the study.
To see more of Caleb’s works, visit his website.