Head Over Heels And Ass Backwards · DEDPXL

Concept_Drawing #1

That post title sums up exactly what this tumultuous relationship with photography feels like. A month has passed since my last post.

In that month – technically even before that – I have been plotting and scheming. Plans have been put into effect, I’ve met with friends, models, stylists. Done recon on locations. Checked gear. Sold old gear. Bought new gear. Now the execution lays ahead. You can go read up on that a little bit here.

As of your reading this I’ll already have one shoot under my belt, unfortunately not for my portfolio though, but who knows, that might change. A week before my first dispatch I received an email from a prominent South African pianist. It was the usual thing when I get requests for estimates: “I love your work and what you do. Would you please forward me an estimate?” I thought perhaps it would result in the usual response when I submitted my estimate — that of no reply. Or even worse sometimes the dreaded,”That’s out of my budget.”

Not this time, though. This dude had clearly worked with other professional photographers (not that I would call myself that yet) and knew the cost and the time and the effort that went into a shoot. So I sent my estimate through and two days later received a reply for a face to face meeting. Needless to say I was pretty stoked. I emailed Zack to ask for some help regarding usage fees etc. and included those in the original estimate and Charl, the pianist, was fine with it. What? Really? Holy crap! Usually your client battles you left, right and center. I’m certain it is much less than what more well known photographers are charging, but I am really happy with the estimate I sent.

So that happened last weekend the 7th of February and I am super stoked with how the shoot went. I can’t share those images just yet, but they are coming. Here’s a little sneak peek.


However, what I can share are some sketches for my portfolio work that I am shooting soon. Just a little sneak peek into my concepts for the photos. The main post image is one and then the one below. I have two more, but they aren’t sketched out very well 🙂 It involves a recreation of the Piéta sculpture by Michelangelo and the other image; a Spanish Dancer.

Concept_Drawing #2


Can I make these photos? I dunno, but that is why I am trying. Zack told me a cool story when I was in the States. I believe it is something that Gregory Heisler said:


“I don’t want to make photos that I know how to create, I want to make photos that I don’t know how to create.”


And to be honest, that is exactly how I feel. And it’s kinda shitty, because I have put a lot of time and effort into arranging these shoots and getting the people and sifting through the ideas and if I don’t produce something good I have wasted everyone else’s time and that is the last thing I want to do.

I ask myself everyday, “What have I gotten myself into?”

These images need to be made, because they are my next step. The next hurdle to overcome. The thing that will hopefully make people take a little bit of notice and get me the kinda jobs I want and shooting the kinda work I want. It’s exhausting, I am not going to lie. The last month I have been busier than I have ever been in my working life and it feels f**king great knowing that each action I take will lead to images I want to make and that is pretty damn awesome.

On top of ALL this I am trying to get a studio off the ground and working with some wonderful friends whom have once again blown my mind and offered to help for free, because that’s how f**king great they are and how much they want to form a part of it, which lets me believe it’s the right move.

I also want to start a bi-monthly zine. How the hell am I going to have the time for all of this? Right now it feels like time is all I have and by being proactive something has got to give. Something has got to work and hopefully it will be all of the above. I want to build community.

That’s it for now. Next month I’ll hopefully have some of those shots to show everyone.

Thanks for reading

PS: I want to reach out to the community here and ask for any advice regarding getting the studio up and running. What should I consider, be aware of, be wary of. Leave your comments or drop me a mail.

Bernard Brand

Bernard is a freelance portrait photographer, based in Pretoria, South Africa. Currently stumbling ass backwards into a full time photography career.

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