Travelling twin photographers extraordinaire An and En Estrada bring you some much-needed summer sun this winter – off to basking in the glorious landscape of Cape Town, Africa! Join them as they take you to their journey on a photographer’s dream come true!
St. Augustine once said, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” True enough, South Africa has so much to offer to its visitors with a very diverse culture and friendly people. Indeed, a journey through its lands turns an ample amount of pages for the traveler who chooses to read, understand, and experience the story South Africa has to tell. Having been home to modern humans for 100 centuries, its alluring sites don’t fail to impress and inspire the travelers’ psyche.
Armed with just one analog camera without any zoom lens and 25 boxes of film, we present to you our SOUTH AFRICA photo diary. These photos will never do justice to the country’s greatness, but we think it will also inspire you to go at the least. Truly, South Africa is a photographer’s dream come true!
We believe that our travel adventures ignited our love for photography. We started traveling at four years old. Our parents are travel junkies and they always brought us with them. We unintentionally practiced on each other by taking pictures of one another. We started with really “posey” shots then, but we eventually developed a more natural style as we grew up. Maybe subconsciously our eyes save photographic memories of interesting things we see when we travel, these things inspire the concepts of our shoots.
Film is our first language. The first camera we ever owned was a disposable underwater camera. We converted our pool bathroom a year ago into a black-and-white darkroom. Since then, we’ve been using film. We tried shooting in digital too, but it just felt too artificial. We have nothing against those who prefer digital, in fact we admire them for using a medium that is just too complicated for us. We think people tend to read way too much (both good or bad) into changes in photographic technology. Too many debates on the best camera models and equipment out there, sometimes they forget the real essence of a good picture.
We like film because it has a personality. Digital can’t compare to its richness, especially in black and white. We like how it feels (even the way it smells) – the general fuzziness of film grain, the feeling of “lock n’ loading” a roll, sprockets and unexpected accidents. It’s just plain fun for us. We enjoy 80’s cameras, nostalgia of a real darkroom print, the waiting, the surprises, the anticipation and the idea of having only 36 shots in your camera instead of 1,000. We love the sound of the shutter, the winding of film and the whole process of developing with chemicals. It feels like the photo was created entirely by us, from start to finish. Not that we’re against change. But film serves us well.
We’re obsessed with raw and honest things- awkwardness, quirks and frailty. We want to keep things real as possible, just to shoot them as they are; and we usually achieve this using available light. No photoshopping involved. Almost as if you we’re invited to their place precisely to shoot them as they are. The main reason we use these techniques, especially in lighting (available light or simple on-camera flash), came about when we were still starting out.
We couldn’t afford expensive lights – not even a DSLR camera, so we thought of how we can make great pictures using what we already had. If we could do that, we’d only need our own sense of style and taste instead of depending on equipment to do our work. I think sunlight is the best light you could ever use so we try to use it as much as we can. Shooting around sunsets, the light is just beautiful, I’m convinced you can shoot anything in that light and it will be beautiful. We like to keep things simple. Huge cameras usually intimidate our subjects. We also love scanning our photos. You’ll be surprised how much information is on a negative when you scan it yourself, and how the final images don’t look good simply because the local laboratory scan was not good.
Cape Town for instance, possesses an unparalleled perspective of the Atlantic Ocean and an awesome view of the city from its very own table mountain. It was the perfect marriage of film and location that brought about mixed feelings of anticipation and hesitation. Port Elizabeth opens up to the vast Indian Ocean while cradling a number of fine beaches on its shores. Joburg, its biggest city, boasts a unique fusion of energy and talent which results into a finished product of authentic South African culture! Being the adventure capital of the world, it is every photographer’s dream to document what left us awe-struck. Its fascinating natural beauty and wildlife compelled us to take snapshots of it sites, which are surely only a fraction of the spectacles it has to offer.
The mountains, forests, caves, coasts and deserts couldn’t be captured in just one click. The wildlife is also addicting and intoxicating, which is not a surprise when you are journeying through the home of the 5 largest land animals in the world. Discovering the nations struggle for freedom as experienced by Mandela, Pieterson and other revolutionaries is definitely moving.
Motherland to the human race longer than any other continent, Africa need not pose for the camera. The camera ought to pose for her.
Route: cape town-knysna-oudtshoorn-zimbabwe-zambia-johannesburg-sun city
For more photos, check out their Tumblr
an & en