I am a Fine Art Photographer. I have my own gallery, Galleria Gibello, in Cape Town but exhibit internationally each year and spend much time in the bush and in exotic parts of the world capturing images. My passion for photography was born 16 years ago whilst in the Himalayas of Nepal.
What would you tell someone who wants to gets into your field of work?
For anyone that is seriously interested in photography, don’t ever put your camera down! Keep shooting and in that way you will learn far more than any amount of technical training will teach you. Your eye for the subtleties of, light, texture, tone and composition will slowly evolve and ultimately it is in a person’s unique way of seeing things and translating this into evocative imagery that will define their success. A fierce amount of passion, commitment and drive is required to make it happen. Persevere.
What advice do you wish you had received before embarking on your own photography adventure?
My own photography adventure evolved very organically and naturally, as a result, I think of the passion that I developed for it. I didn’t take any advice from anyone because I really found my passion in life and by dogged determination chose to turn it in to my means of making a living. It was a very clear decision for me and through my commitment to it has been a wonderfully rewarding process. At the risk of sounding clichéd, follow your passion and don’t waiver from the belief that in life you really are capable of doing what you love doing every day – you can make it happen. I had wonderful support from two advertising photographers that I assisted for many years. The people around me bought in to my dream and this was hugely contributive.
What inspires you every day?
Table mountain. My 3 year old little girl, Ana. All the gorgeous African animals, trees and landscapes that surround me, on the walls of my studio. My landrover!!! And then all the special people of course.
Having travelled to many exciting places around the globe, what are your favourite shoot locations?
Botswana is my ‘Heaven on Earth’ but everywhere I go I find something magical and inspiring to photograph – there is a uniqueness to every country in the world.
You capture life in a fascinating way. The images are clear, simple and alluringly serene. How do you get that perfect moment with complete strangers?
Photographing people is ultimately defined by a moment you are either able to create with them or not. Connection with a stranger is founded on something not easily definable, it emanates from a spirit place, a kind, gentle, trusting space. That comes from one’s own way of being and generosity of spirit. An open channel is set up from which something spontaneous and beautiful can arise. Without an openness nothing can flow between you.
In this wonderful digital age; do you take advantage and experiment with the many digital artwork tools?
I break every technical rule when actually photographing so a lot of the effects I achieve in camera, in the field. I loathe sitting behind a computer so no, I’m quite useless at photoshop and don’t use many artwork tools. I’m good with levels, curves and desaturating – real simple, that’s me.
Have you had any weird experiences while on a shoot?
Many. The one that springs to mind most recently though was during my latest trip in Botswana. I was in an open vehicle, surrounded by herds of family groups of elephants. A large female starting walking towards the vehicle extending her trunk presumably to try to identify us, she was smelling us. We could tell that her behaviour was unaggressive though and my guide and I remained still and quiet and left the vehicle off. She came right up to me at the back of her car, extended her trunk out towards my face so that I could actually feel her breath on my nose as she placed her trunk within a few centimetres of my nose.
You own your own gallery in Cape Town. When did it open?
I opened my gallery in Cape Town 4 years ago. I have moved from the Bo kaap to the new Cape Quarter Square in Green Point. Opening my own gallery seemed a logical conclusion to selling my own work that was selling very well through other galleries and shops. To have my own gallery was a way of ensuring that my work became visible to the public and being in the Cape Quarter has secured that as it is a high foot traffic area and consequently my name has got out in to the world and my prints have found their way to all corners of the globe. I wanted to create a gallery space that somehow relayed my life experiences around the world in to something tangible for others to experience too. And I think we have achieved this – people walk away from the gallery having had a real, authentic experience. They want to take a piece of that experience away with them.
What are your big plans for the future?
To exhibit in New York, Berlin and London again next year. To open another beautiful and bigger gallery with a fantastic new concept I have dreamt up (watch this space). To start producing documentaries next year. To ride a bicycle through China. And to spend an extensive amount of time in various African countries. And so much more….that’ll do for one year though – in my world it all happens one year at a time.
In a perfect world, where would you want to be right now?
Right now, on the banks of the Chobe river, watching ele’s swim and mud bath and play.
Tomorrow, walking in the Himalayas.
The next day a coffee in Paris would be good.
And then perhaps an evening at home with good food, wine, music and company.