We’re talking to the photographers behind Drop Your Drink. You’ll get to learn how they work and what drives them. Our final feature is on Christiaan Pretorius, a Pretoria-based photographer and videographer.
DYD: You have a portfolio which includes portraiture, landscape, street and concert photography. How did you start your photographic journey and what made you focus on those genres of photography?
Christiaan: I actually thought my videos were unappetising for the eyes and reverted to taking single frames instead. I discarded my “Mik and Druk” for a single lens system of 20 years back and roughed it with a film camera for starters. I shot anything that moved for the largest while until I settled on people and places. I am a “bok” for most sports constantly having a browse in most genres, but I know what I don’t like, like macro photography (skies Pa).
DYD: Who are you as a photographer and how would you describe your style?
Christiaan: Myself and Yetu (Editress of this blog) spoke how photography allows you to be socially unsocial.
Photography allows me to be the internet troll of real life and lurk the hell out of any situation. I regress to just observing. Some of the allure of photography lies in catching peeps off guard. I like the feeling of capturing someone unaware and preserving their essence for posterity as if I have a pass to the facade-less. That and Hollywood. I love the unashamed deliciousness that Hollywood peddles, so sometimes I take my pictures and dip them in sucrose infused caramel candy, nod to Photoshop.
DYD: You are also an upcoming videographer. What came first, videography or photography? And what advice would you give to photographers trying to break into videography?
Christiaan: Video was the gateway. We wanted to tell stories more engaging than written word in the school newspaper. Advice wise, I would say just switch on the video function on your DSLR. Photographers already have the eye for composition and we all tell stories in our everyday lives. The cost to entry otherwise is relatively speaking the price of dirt and with a bit of hustle you can set yourself up for failure, lots and lots of cheek flushingly pink failure that is after all the best teacher. If you want to make movies, make movies.
DYD: What lessons have you learnt from videography that apply to photography?
Christiaan: Video is very focused on the story. Everything tends to contain the story first and then afterwards look pretty. Photography that lasts is similar, but instead of slowly developing the story, you capture a peak instance that then provokes the viewer to derive context and consequence.
DYD: Can you tell us about any great moments you had as a photographer?
Christiaan: It’s difficult to narrow down one instance, but I generally feel my camera is a little carpe diem machine.
It either forces you to get up and go to where the cool/interesting/dangerous things are or gets you invited to where the cool/interesting/dangerous things are. I was really amped when we got to be a film crew on the Avontoer way back in high school, I felt like the guy in Almost Famous.
DYD: What gear have you relied on as during your progression as a photographer?
Christiaan: I have grown stupidly fond of my GoPro and selfie stick combo recently, not just for narcissistic purposes. The combo feels like a rigging crew in my backpack.
The advent of video DSLR’s were also god send. That timed with the internet and social networks have been a little technosance for the image creatives, but the competition is also somewhat intimidating.
Generally I have been in admiration of people’s pictures for ages and the throw-away range of lenses we have on the market today is way better than what the legends had pre 90’s, but those guys nailed it. Hence if they could be busy nailing in the 80s why should I update my camera every fortnight? I always try pushing myself with whatever I have, making a disposable a “hustle” blad by just channeling some inner photo guru.
DYD: In your opinion, what makes a great photographer?
Christiaan: I have been pondering this question myself. I have a lot of admiration for a combination of balls and persistence. In a 75 million daily Instagram user battlefield you really need these two traits to push out constant high quality work. Balls and persistence generally are side effects of passion so if I had to narrow it down, I think what makes a good photographer is passion, passion and clout, and powers of persuasion.
DYD: Which local and international photographers inspire you?
Christiaan: The lensmen and ladies I like locally are mostly the reportage folk, like Pieter Hugo, Jodi Bieber, David Goldblatt and Mikhael Subotzky.
From the overseas; Ansel Adams is a god to me, Henri Cartier Bresson demigod, everyone on the Nat Geo staff, Anny Leibowitz for her portraits.
DYD: Where can we find more of your work?
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/chrispphotoandvideo
- Behance: www.behance.com/chrispphotoandvideo
- Youtube: www.youtube.com/user/chrisppret
- Vimeo: vimeo.com/user3737899