We’re talking to the photographers behind Drop Your Drink. You’ll get to learn how they work and what drives them. We’re talking to Lebogang Ditibane next. He’s based in Pretoria.
DYD: You have such an expansive portfolio which includes portraiture, concert and street photography. How did you start your photographic journey and what made you focus on those genres of photography?
Lebo: I’ve always wanted to have some sort of creative outlet for my sanity’s sake in this world. Around 2008 when I finally quit my attempt at graphic design, a friend of mine introduced me to a South African photography website. It got me hooked so hard that I had to buy a camera and try things out myself. Yeah, I was one of those, doing stuff because others were doing it. I’m self-taught to the bone, sometimes I don’t feel like I’m where I want to be but it’s been an amazing journey so far. As for the genres, as much as I hate to admit it, I guess people intrigue me and so I want to capture all their moments. Some of these moments include getting prepped for a portraiture shoot, carrying on with life on the streets or having fun with music. Music photography just happens to be a 3-in-1 for me: the people and their vibe, great tunes, and the colours (at night) are just amazing.
DYD: Who are you as a photographer and how would you describe your style?
Lebo: I am a storyteller, emotional being, but not like Drake emotional (yes, I had to) and probably some sort of humanitarian too. I enjoy that feeling when someone is happy that I pointed a camera at them or when I look at an image after I capture it and my body shivers because its that good. As far as style is concerned, I think I’m moody. I don’t know if it works yet but other than aesthetics, I want people to recognise the mood that I try to capture with my pictures, and maybe feel it too for that moment.
DYD: We’ve seen a big focus on street photography in your work. What differentiates you from other photographers shooting street photography?
Lebo: I don’t know if I could say that we differ, we are all trying to get a frame to tell a story. With that said, I believe that one shouldn’t take life too seriously because we all die. So my attempted stories include a bit of humour, politics, the system, and just living life as humans. This goes back to my earlier point, human fascination, observations and so on.
DYD: What gear have you relied on during your progression as a photographer?
Lebo: I don’t know about relied on but hey… My Canon 70D has been serving me well these past 8 months, this is for serious work! My iPhone 5s is what you’ll most probably find me in the streets with, if not my Canon EOS 600 film camera. I still don’t have a go-to lens that I really like, I mean I have the Canon 50mm f1.8 but it’s just making me want a full frame camera. I also really like the Canon 24-70 f2.8 that I hire a lot but once again, I’m wishing for a full frame camera. In a world where money wasn’t an issue I’d gladly be singing that tune about my awesome Canon 5DsR and array of L-series lenses. Right now? Call me ungrateful.
DYD: Your long exposure city photos are incredible. How do you select an area to capture?
Lebo: Contrary to some popular belief, I spend quite a lot of time by myself. I always take the long way home if I can’t visit a friend. These long drives help me discover something cool (it’s all for the cool) or somehow iconic then I just shoot. Given whatever I start with, I sometimes continue to take similar images to fit into a theme and that’s how the other pictures follow. There are always these three items in the boot of my car for emergencies: a tripod, a light stand and a shoot-through umbrella. Which is all good but somehow illogical since the camera is mostly not there.
DYD: Your Instagram account showcases a lot of your street photography taken in Pretoria. What advice can you give to individuals looking to shoot street photography in Pretoria’s CBD?
Lebo: Just go for it really. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m actually a Joburger who sort of relocated to Pretoria that I find the city more relaxed, more friendlier and willing to let you just be. Most of Joburg is on that keep watching your back tip. I see more people on their fancy phones and gadgets in Pretoria than anywhere outside De Beer Street in Braamfontein. So like I say, just go for it and try not to piss off anyone. There’s some sort of an etiquette to it.
DYD: Can you tell us about any great moments that you’ve had as a photographer?
Lebo: I think this part is made by 2014 for me. It started with me skipping the country to go lose my camera gear in Swaziland. Okay, that was not fun but it was an experience nonetheless. Exhibiting in Newtown with my boys was a good one. Shooting A Taste of Sonar with the Seed Experiences team made me feel quite special. For a second I felt like I had made it. 2014 was a fun year.
DYD: In your opinion, what makes a great photographer?
Lebo: Someone whose work engages the ordinary person. If they had to stop for a moment and acknowledge what they are seeing then the photographer is a great one. At this stage, other photographers and some critics would’ve been impressed by this work too.
DYD: Which local and international photographers inspire you?
Lebo: I’m not too sure about international but locally, I’ve been inspired by my peers such as Mpumelelo Macu, Andile Buka, Leeroy Jason, Ett Venter, as well as my favourite old timer, Santu Mofokeng. They are all great photographers of people in my opinion.
DYD: Where can we find more of your work?
Lebo: I’m quite heavily linked up so here goes:
– Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DallCreations
– Behance: https://www.behance.net/LebogangDitibane
– Tumblr: http://leboditibane.tumblr.com/
– Instagram – https://instagram.com/leboditibane/
– Flickr: https://www.flickr.com/photos/teknojack/
– VSCO: http://leboditibane.vsco.co/grid/1
– 75: http://75.co.za/teknojack