To the person looking from the outside, it might seem as though all Andre Badenhorst, a man with a KILLER beard, does is unpack and pack gear! But, behind the scenes there is a lot of brainstorming, light tests, shooting, editing, meeting new people, “drinking beer and listening to music. Repeat!”
A taste of photography
Andre got started with photography at the age of 15 when he was given a photography project in art class. “I can still remember causing a lot of trouble when I ‘borrowed’ my sister’s Pentax Asahi 35mm.” For the project, he decided to base his shots on the one thing in life he loved the most, skateboarding. That photography project was all it took; he’s never looked back.
Experiencing more = learning more
After school he did a one-year photography introductory course to photography in Stellenbosch and from there it was pretty much trial and error shooting anything and everything! He also assisted a couple of photographers and started developing his own style. Thereafter, he studied multimedia part-time at Open Window. “It helped me to develop my post-production skills and the application of design principles to photography.”
A portrait doesn’t necessarily need to be a classic head-and-shoulder photograph in Andre’s opinion. It is fine “as long as it portrays a living being and evokes emotion.”
Lights, camera, retouching
When shooting portraiture, Andre prefers to use his 5D Mark III camera body and says that he almost always has 4 heads and as many light modifiers with him as possible. “I love mixing hard and soft light to create mood and have recently been shooting a lot of my images with a Profoto Magnum reflector as my key light. When it comes to post-production, Andre always starts off with colour grading in Lightroom and then moves on to Photoshop for retouching.
Photographing SA’s top musicians
In short, Blood Brothers is a 10-man group made up of South Africa’s best musicians. United as one, in the battle against cancer, they support the Vrede Foundation. Andre drew inspiration from ‘the fight against cancer’ and the concept of a ‘war zone’ was born. At first, working with SA’s top musicians was a daunting task, but they made it really easy for him. “I now consider all of them to be good friends. It’s an honour working with such talented people.” He says that the most challenging thing about the whole process was that he had to shoot every single portrait within a 3-days period, across two cities. There is always a silver lining and in this instance it had to be Maritsa, their editor. “She’s amazing at compositing and without her it wouldn’t have been possible.”
“Never give up”
Over the years, Andre has learnt that photography is an art in which you’ll never stop learning. “No one shoot is the same as the next. The key is to never give up.” We all have crazy dreams and Andre’s would be, besides doing a portrait shoot with Salvador Dali, to do a backside lip slide on a particular 12-stair handrail.
In the words of Salvador Dali, I end off this article…
“Intelligence without ambition is a bird without wings”