Photographers Profiles

Jonathan Taylor

Born in 1954 in Zambia, and raised in the lush Luangwa Valley, Jonathan’s passionate relationship with nature can perhaps be traced back to a piece of classic Italian design in Bakelite: a brand new Ferrania camera.

A gift from his father on his sixth birthday, Jonathan used the camera to capture images of wild animals being relocated to make way for the construction of the Kariba Dam.

Jonathan was shortly relocated himself as his family moved to Yorkshire, England, before returning to complete his schooling at Michaelhouse in Kwazulu-Natal. Thereafter, he majored in Mathematics at Rhodes University, but the call of the Art and Photographic Departments soon saw him departing for a new life in Johannesburg, a newly-acquired wife, and a new job as a press photographer.

Cutting his teeth on serious documentary work, Jonathan soon came to the realisation that “photography cannot tell an absolute truth” as it represents a particular perspective, an edited moment that translates news through pictures – and often leaves the photographer searching for an aesthetic in tragedy. He subsequently moved on to film, with a brief stop in the “frivolous” world of fashion along the way.

Much of the next two decades were spent as a commercial film director with projects spanning the globe. But, as he was to find out, commercials have a short life span; images live on.

His current exhibition embodies a short-term narrative, delivered by a series of “moving” still pictures taken at over 250km/h from high-speed train trips through Germany. At these speeds, interpreting details of the landscape becomes challenging - only archetypes and anomalies catch one’s attention. Jonathan took series after series of images, each one with diminishing detail and simply reflecting an “impressionist panorama”.

These images allowed him to explore with new depth an emerging evolutionary philosophy while searching for archetypes and the reason why we recognise them and their place in art. He also questioned how abstract an archetype can be before it is rendered useless. So began his serial documentation method, with each journey pushing the boundaries a little further. His nudes – despite the fact that they require the same technology to capture - are more commercial.

Jonathan is already at work on his next project, one that expands his current fascination with this style and photographic technique.


Emanuel Maria

Emanuel is a very well known photographer and his photographs have been published in books, calendars, postscards and magazines internationally.

Over the years, Emanuel has acquired a fellowship with the photographic society of Southern Africa (FPSSA), an associateship with the Royal Photographic Society of Great Britain (ARPS), associateship with the Australian Photographic Society (AAPS) and associateship with the Federation International Art Photographic (AFIAP). He's also a member of the Photographic Society of America (PSA), the Canadian Association of Photographic Art (CAPA).

While his focus is predominantly on photography, Emanuel is also involved in developing audio visual presentations, and he runs workshops and photographic tours.

Andrew Ingram

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.

Working Method

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.


Nic Bothma

Nic is a professional photojournalist and has worked in more than 50 countries in the last 15 years. Nic began his career documenting the fall of apartheid and transition into democracy in South Africa. After working for a couple of years for the Cape Times newspaper he embarked on a 4 year round-the-world sailing expedition aboard his 31-foot sloop, documenting remote island cultures. In 2003, Nic joined the international news picture service European Pressphoto Agency (EPA) and is currently the West African chief photographer.

He has won numerous awards including:
2005 Italian Ischia International award for Journalism
2004and2007 Fujifilm African Press Photographer of the year
2007USANPPA (national press photographers association) – teamsports action winner
2007USA – national headliner award
2007USA – Society of proffessional journalists – Sigma Delta Chi award


Karin Retief

Karin Retief has been a photojournalist for 22years, spending 9 years as a full time press photographer on daily newspapers in South Africa. Ending her press career as chief photographer at the Cape Times in Cape Town.

As a freelance photojournalist she's been on assignment for Scientific American to Kenya (Meave Leaky story), Zimbabwe (HIV/AIDS story) and Namibia (Damming the Kunene) for Greenpeace to Venda, International Rivers Network to Zimbabwe and Zambia (Tonga and the Kariba dam forced removals) and BMS (Sweden) to Lesotho (ARV treatment). She's had her work published in many international newspapers and magazines including The Times, Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, The Independent, Financial Times, The Observer and Zuidelijk Afrika.Her focus is social/economic and environmental issues of especially southern Africa.

She is constantly on the move and has traveled to the USA, Botswana, Mozambique, Swaziland, Brazil, Indonesia, Turkey, Greece, Europe and the UK.

Karin lives between Cape Town and Namibia, which has become a second home to her and her family. In Namibia she has been documenting the lives of a semi-nomadic Himba family over a 10year period as well as an ongoing self initiated project documenting all the different cultural groups of the country.

Karin is married to her life partner of 17 years Michiel and they have a 3year old son Matias.