Neil and Gavin from Johannesburg – Drawn to light

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I sat down with ‘Drawn to Light’ who are a team of commercial photographers, for a chat. I always mention that I have a healthy respect for the creative soul and love to talk with anyone whose passion intrigues me.

Hello guys. Okay let us start off talking about Drawn To Light and

Neil- Hi, well the concept came about when we decided that we can work better as a team rather than as individuals. It was all about networking, bringing our networks together and sharing what we can each bring to the table. Its quite a loose partnership, we are friends first and foremost but yes business partners.

Gavin- There are lots of scenarios that you come across as a photographer where you need an extra set of hands or maybe you want someone to cover for you. Also you want to learn from other people. That is how we started working together on bigger projects and it has been good.

Neil- We also do video.

You guys are contributors to Bricks and Sticks on Humans, tell me about a favourite picture you have taken. It is hard when you have been working in the world of photography for as long as guys have to slim it down to one, but have a try, anything of your own work that jumps out?

Neil- I think for me because I am passionate about traveling, my travel stuff really stands out for me. Having gone to India, the Philippines, and seen a lot of Europe and Switzerland. Especially in Africa, Namibia really stood out for me. It was really amazing to just be on my own out in the wild just capturing the beautiful landscapes. For me landscapes and also people. You travel and you meet people and engage with different cultures, capturing that for future.

Gavin- I have a hand full of favorite pics, it changes all the time. You know every shoot you do you get a new favourite, well if you are lucky. I have a lot of performance stuff that for me stands out because you can see how much the singer or performer is feeling the music. Those powerful images which everyone can relate to, like of Bob Marley or Bob Dylan on stage. Also images when I was in the right place at the right time like when it snowed in Johannesburg, the only time in like twenty years and I saw a dog looking up at the sky confused as to what was going on. It was a dog build for the snow but he had never seen snow before, so stuff like that.

It was just Heritage day. A day where we as South African’s come together and celebrate our culture. As photographers what do you feel is your contribution to our country in terms of arts and culture?

Neil – As photographers we are a part of contributing to the culture and capturing it for future generations to see what it was like. In the day and age of digital photography, a lot of people complain because a lot of memories get lost because it is so easy to just delete a photo that is out of focus. But it might have captured a moment something that will disappear entirely. I am afrikaans and for me it is sometimes difficult to see that Afrikaans is being treated as the sort of ugly step child and you never know how long its going to hang around for or what is going to happen in the future. Maybe down the line 50 years or a 100 years down the line when we are no longer around our photos can still tell the stories and how everything evolved into something totally different to what we know today.

Gavin- I think it is difficult to not contribute in some way. Maybe it is not always profound in the grand scheme of our country, but even just the regular jobs we do from week to week you are recording memories for people. You are recording bits of their lives that are important. For the corporate stuff it is relationships between people, you are making a difference in their life. In a more fine arts setting I am always looking for projects where I can do something bigger or grander, as I think we all are. It is easy to forget you are making a contribution to peoples lives. When you take a picture of someones family, they will have that picture for a hundred years and if it is digital who knows how many generations down the line that photo will be important to them.

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