LEON OOSTHUIZEN - Who am I?

I often get asked when I started with photography. it is a question with many possible answers. I prefer to say photography found me when I was 5 years old. My dad had an SLR from somewhere in the 70’s which he let me hold, manually focus until the image was clear, and press the button. It was like time stood still for an eternity and that moment was cemented in my memory. from that day, I could not go anywhere without it being a visual safari of epic proportions… in my head. I would stick my eye into glasses at restaurants, right next to windows to see the reflections, investigating everything to see if I might discover an interesting hidden secret. That game still carries on - It has become the language of my inner monologue.

That was a bit of a trippy start to my story, but it is fantastical as it is true. I made a short attempt of a degree in chemical engineering, but that was not meant to be despite my love for all things technical and sciencey. it is because of that picture-language. So I went to study fine art with photography and stained glass majors.

The first time I processed some black and white film in the darkroom at the technikon and then made a print, seeing in that dim red glow of the safety light how my photo materialises like a ghost ship floating out of the fog and into reality.
Pure poetry.
I was smitten with black and white photography which still remains my preferred style of shooting because it is so graphic, simplified and done well. powerfully timeless. Colour most definitely has its place as a formal element and narrative aid, but for me it has to serve a purpose in order to justify its presence in the composition.

My hobby and my work are the same - If i had to win the lottery, I would still do photography and never leave home without a camera. I love shooting street and take that approach to other genres where i shoot commercially like constantly doing behind the scenes work on the set of Die Skatties, a TV show. The first season last year was a great success, and we are currently filming the second season with the super quiet super X-H1. Since I started shooting digital in 2002, it always felt like the process was clunky and the camera added to many layers of complexity in the workflow. well, until I met Hein, the Fujifilm man here in Cape Town. Since then Ive been shooting Fujifilm and the joy if image-making, exploring and finding interesting aspects about everything and everyone around me is back in full force, and some!

I am now also an X-photographer fro Fujifilm South Africa. I love connecting with people. It is in all honesty how i settled on Fujifilm as my mirrorless brand of choice. My love for tech, creative expression and sharing all of what that is fellow photographers is what gets me out of bed in the morning.

Currently in my bag you will find the fabulous GFX50s, an X-T2, each with their own set of lenses.

Photo 2018-05-07, 08 46 34.jpg

Commercially I shoot products, people, places.

Products include wine bottles, online catalogues, jewellery, food and cars.

Places are mostly architectural interiors and exteriors. Landscapes also feature and I most often shoot urban and extra urban landscapes in-between engagements or take a few extra minutes when scouting locations or on route from a 1-on-1 class.

In the people category you will find informal street portraits, corporate headshots, model portfolios and weddings, mostly of the smaller boutique variety.

Among my clients are David Kramer, StauchVorster Architects,

I host several photowalks during the year, and when the calendar permits, the photowalks are on the 15th of the month and we shoot exclusively at a 1/15th of a second. such a great way to get beyond the mundane and press into a space where what happens in the frame trumps the need for technical excellence or the need to have more expensive gear. its a level playing field.

My favourite shoots are those where I have the license to make up the rules to make the images I already have in my head. One of my clients is a big nursery in the Netherlands that asked me to make a 4m x 80m image (!!) of a Karoo landscape along with soem supporting high res images of succulents. It turns out they printed a truly massive roll-up sun-blind for their greenhouse warehouse. Thats the kind of stuff I love doing - printing on a huge scale. The world is such a beautiful place. It is my privilege to help make it so, or at least help people to see the beauty and humour in their own lives.

The best way to see what i’m up to is through social media at the following:
Website:www.leonslens.com
Instagram: @leonoosthuizen
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Love2Shoot/