My story with photography is one that is a bit odd in the sense that I never thought I would be a photographer when I was younger. One thing that was certain from an early age was that I always enjoyed creating and it is probably the main reason I did so well in my art classes and not really well in any other subjects…
My move to Fujifilm wasn’t done on a whim and a fancy. I’ve been looking at the system for some time and actually shot a wedding with a borrowed X-T1. Unfortunately, at that stage it had too many limitations when compared to the setup I owned. Things like battery life and image quality weren’t up to scratch and a move seemed unlikely…
When photographing my cousin’s baby shower, she asked me if I had taken the photo. I said yes and she said that was so fast. I asked her what she meant. She replied that she did not hear the click. (remember that i am deaf) I realised i had set the camera to the ES mode (electronic shutter) so the shutter is silent. I changed it back to the MS mode (Mechanical shutter)…
Photography has been part of me for as long as I can remember. My first camera was a purple 35mm film camera with a hulk tattoo on it that I got in my kiddies meal from Stears. I can’t remember what age I was then but if you know Stears you’ll have an idea of how long ago that was hahaha, burgers were about R4 that time….
People call me Krispy. (Chris P)uren
It started many years ago. My friend and I went out for drinks when her mom called and asked her where she was. She said she was out having drinks with “Chris”. Her mom asked which Chris (In the town I grew up there were a lot of us) and she said “Chris Puren”. All her mom heard was Chrispy. The name stuck haha!
My journey into photography started when I left school to go study Graphic Design. I instantly fell in love with the art. In those days I was shooting on a Minolta Dynax on black and white film and then developing the images myself in the darkroom… It’s a method that teaches you a lot about getting composition and lighting right before you press the shutter….
I was first introduced to the Fujifilm XT-1 in 2015 when Karlien Murray from AtPhoto brought her body for me to try out. Having seen many positive reviews on the colour rendition of the model, I found myself really impressed by what this little camera could deliver. I promptly ordered one alongside the f1.2 56mm lens - the combination was incredible, and I loved shooting personal projects with the combo…
The good, the bad, the bold, the delicate, all these fleeting moments are well… fleeting. And I want to be there with my camera to record them all. Whether it’s a bride walking down the isle, the in between giggle from a model revealing her true beautiful smile, or a holiday trip with my partner, these moments tell a story. I feel a contrasting pull to dive into camera in those moments, but also to be there present and engaged without constantly living through the viewfinder or back of the screen. So my solution to capture and not disconnect in the moment…shoot fast.
Now that might sound silly, but my Fujifilm camera has helped me to do just that. With the EVF (electronic view finder) I’m able to see exactly what my image will look like even before I press the shutter. No more ‘chimping’, just quicker shooting to get the moment and keep engaged in it. That way I miss less and stay aware of what’s happening around me.
I’ve been shooting for 7 years now and feel super fortunate to be doing what I enjoy full time, along with lecturing part time at Orms Cape Town School of Photography, where I studied 7 years ago. I photograph a wide variety of genres, mainly Weddings, Events and Fashion. I strongly believe in studying in a methodical way, and even though today with easy access to info via Google and YouTube, often you don’t know what you don’t know. I found it tremendously useful to systematically learn different skills that cover a wide range of photographic genres that I most likely would of skipped over if I was just Googling what I like. So my one recommendation regarding self study, is don’t be tempted to pick and choose what to learn. Start simple and build and learn even what you don’t think is “flashy” as I have used those less exciting skills many times and been grateful for acquiring them.
My journey has not been a solo act. I have grown by having talented people around me that inspire and push me. I have a great community of photographers around me that share the same passions and struggles and it’s a great reminder that I’m not in this alone. No man is an island… surround yourself with talented people.
I’ve built my visual literacy by instead of just scrolling past dozens of images of other inspirational photographers, asking the question “What do I like about this photo?” Learning to crit and not just consume has helped me hone in to how I want to shoot.
So capture the moment, learn and keep learning and crit what you see to build an internal library for yourself. Happy shooting.
You can see more of my work on these various platforms:
I am Henry Engelbrecht and I am a FujiFilm user.
I am an IT consultant by day and a music photographer by night. Attending live shows and photographing them is a hobby that gives me a creative outlet which I desperately need.
I love to watch the creative process that unfolds when a band makes music on a stage, and it is my mission to try and capture something of those special moments that take place there. My favourite shows are the wild, rowdy and intimate ones in smaller venues, because that is where the magic really happens.
What makes band photography so interesting and rewarding for me is the fact that you never really know what you are going to get, and you never have any control over the lighting or what happens during the performance. Most of the time it is like trying to take photos of people running around in a very dark room, and it takes patience and experience (with some luck) to extract something out of those difficult situations.
My favourite photos are the ones that tell the story of the event, which shows the relationship between the band members on stage and the relationship between the band and the crowd. To get those photos you must sometimes insert yourself into the crowd, become a part of the event, which is fun but not always easy to do.
I believe that my mirrorless Fujifilm cameras are the perfect tools to capture these moments. The fact that I can see what I am shooting enables me to focus on the important stuff, like timing and composition, because I have to worry less about technical stuff like exposure and camera settings.
Find out more:
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/livemusicimages
- Instagram: @henry.engelbrecht