Andrew Ingram is an international award-winning news photographer based in Cape Town, South Africa. After studying photojournalism at Port Elizabeth technikon he joined The Argus as a junior photographer in 1988, working his way up through the ranks. He then joined Weekend Argus as Chief Photographer where he worked until 2004. From there he moved to the Cape Times and in earl 2008 was made Deputy Illustrations Editor at Independent Newspapers, Cape.
He has had a number of exhibitions in Cape Town and relaxes by kayaking, mountain biking, fly fishing or photographing nature. He is a volunteer with Sea Rescue where he has the rank of coxswain and received his 25 years service award in 2006.
His Latest Venture
Video, glorious video. Andrew has long believed in multi media and has taken the jump to High Definition Video. After his day job picture editing he can often be seen rushing about with a video camera, mic, lights and lots of other bulky stuff - for fun!
He is also making panoramic photographs, the bigger the better, which are digitally stitched and printed on canvases. Some are as large as seven meters and are sold via this site and exhibitions. Some of the larger ones can be seen in the CAPESTORM stores in the V&A waterfront, Kloof street and Canal walk, Cape Town.
The subjects for the prints vary from Cape Town cityscapes to seascapes and Table Mountain and in-fact anything that grabs his imagination.
More about Andrew Ingram
I always have a camera with me. I have a little point and shoot that I carry on my belt - a tiny little thing that shoots five mega pixels, and it has often paid off. That little camera has shot a good few front pages.
My father was a photo lithographer and I remember watching him make plates in the darkroom. I remember the smell of the chemicals and fixer stains on my pants. So it was a natural progression to join the school photographic society when I arrived at Camps Bay High school. We used to go on field trips and make pictures from the Karoo to Simon's Town. In my final year at school,1982, the first Day in the Life of SA book was going to be launched. I was a prefect on late scholar duty and some chap arrived late and said he would tell me about a really good picture - there was a traffic cop hiding in a bus stop with a speed trap - if I would let him off. I photographed this cop peering round the side of this bus stop in
Clifton and that was my first published picture. It was also my introduction to tip-offs.
I decided then and there that photojournalism was for me. So I enrolled at PE technikon where I completed a three-year course specialising in sport and photojournalism. I returned to Cape Town after that and then the struggle for a job started. At that stage the Argus had the best team of photojournalists in the country and the only way to get in was if one left or died, and they were more likely to die than resign.
So I joined the Cape Argus property team. I rode a Honda XLS185 with a box on the back and for nine months I went around photographing houses for estate agents when I would rather be photographing the dying days of apartheid. It was rather like being pregnant, waiting for the birth of my career. After hours I did feature pictures and took them into the newsroom. And then I got my lucky break. In August '88 the Orange River flooded leaving some people had been cut off for two weeks. The Argus was offered a canoeing trip to find these people and to see if they were OK. I just happened to be there at the right time and so off I went, paddling down the Orange River flooded leaving some people cut off for two weeks. On the strength of my photo essay of that venture they created a post and gave me a job.
When I started in September '88, I had a five-year plan and then was going to get a real job - that was 16 years ago.
Being a press photographer you are outdoors, you meet not only the famous and well known people but also ordinary people with exceptional stories to tell and are able to do and see things you generally wouldn't be able to as a member of the public. It gives you an incredibly broad first-hand experience of the people and country that you live in - it's also a hell of a lot of fun. I'm one of the very few civilians to fly with the silver falcons in an aerobatics display. Way above Langebaan we did loops and wing-overs in a five-ship formation of Pilatus Aircraft. It was unbelievable.
I've photographed everybody from PW Botha through to Thabo Mbeki. I've had PW waggle his finger at me, I've chatted to FW in what he called the mooi klein kamertjie in Tuynhuis which was mooi but it certainly wasn't klein. I've had Nelson Mandela say "hello, so how are you" and I've watched Thabo Mbeki smoked a pipe. How many people could have done that in one career, for heaven's sake?
Many of the stories that I do are fun, but some just really hit the sweet spot. One of these was working with a scientist for two days who was studying a pride of lions in the Kalahari desert. We trailed this pride of lions for 24 hours. It doesn't get better than that. In 2005 I covered the Kloof Nek bus accident in which a number of school children were killed when the bus they were travelling in overturned on a steep downhill - that's one of the really difficult things to do, to photograph that kind of destruction, pain and agony. The only good part is that the news coverage forces authorities to crack down on driving coffins.
I try to previsualise and think as carefully as I can about my stories. To understand what I'm going to do, how I'm going to do it and why I'm going to do it. Fires, for example: If you understand the wind and what type of vegetation gives you what kind of smoke and what kind of flames, you have more chance of getting good pictures and surviving.
A good understanding of what you are covering is very important. This, of course, applies from sports to news to photographing a bottle of wine.
I've worked with Nikons through my entire career. My very first camera was a Nikormatt and then professionally I worked with two Nikon FMs, one carried black and white and the other carried transparencies. Wonderful cameras. Once when a shutter jammed on the top of Malawi's Mount Mulanje I took it apart with a Swiss army knife, sorted it out and carried on
I've worked through the series of Nikon cameras: FM2s, F3s, F4s, F5s and then eventually the digital age arrived with a bang and wiped all of that out and now I'M shooting with the Nikon D2H and D200 which is a high-speed press camera and theY're awesome - they are tough and can take everything we throw at them - exposure to the elements, being chucked around if you are being shot at or trying to get away from teargas. Once you've got your images you try and get yourself out of there in one piece, protecting your camera equipment is not exactly a priority.
Press cameras are notoriously badly treated and they, like their owners, have to be tough.