REGARDS

Hougaard Malan : Namibie, le désert onirique

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The Past

I had no prominent artistic or photographic influence in my childhood or family. I was born in the Free State and moved to the Western Cape at the age of 6. If I could briefly sum up my childhood it would be a lot of falling off bicycles and long nights playing computer games. My dad is an agronomist and my mom was a musician, somehow those two influences culminated into a passion for capturing nature’s beauty. I bought my first digital SLR camera at the age of 19 and I instantly became obsessed. Within two years I changed my career plans of becoming an engineer or architect to pursuing a career in landscape photography.

Vision

I am inspired by moments when the elements of nature combine as if painted by a god, to create scenes so beautiful that one has to take the time to stand back in awe and marvel at the beauty of the world we live in. I want my photos to remove the viewer from their present location and transport them to the scene so they can feel the wind and see the golden light of the setting sun on their skin. That is the purpose of a landscape photo, to experience the beauty of a place without being there.

I think people often try to over-interpret photographs and they miss the bigger picture. I’m a realist and through strong composition and complementary lighting I try to distill the essence of a location. I don’t pursue awards or recognition. It took me a while to realise that prizes don’t mean much in a subjective industry dictated more by hobbyists than professionals. The pursuit of such merits makes you forget your purpose. I love what I do and I’m thankful for the opportunity to earn a living from it.

The Future

My style continues to develop and progress. I find that every time I go out into the landscape I see more opportunities for good photographs. With every shoot I am able to capture locations to a higher personal satisfaction and I learn something new every day. I have parted ways with the Western Cape and moved up to Gauteng. For a nature-lover this doesn’t make much sense, but this places me within half a day’s drive of the Drakensberg and the great landscapes of the North which are seriously lacking in my portfolio. I have also started to branch out my portfolio to the world’s most majestic landscapes. Next on the list are Tuscany and Iceland so watch this space for some great new landscape photography.

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