John is my best friend. I know that can sound really lame coming from a 30 year old man, so you’ll be forgiven for thinking I was a teenage girl dropping the BFF bomb all over the place, but we were best men at each others weddings and we’ve been friends for a long time so I think I can legitimately use the cheesy ‘best-friend’ line. We met through surfing and developed a friendship while we surfed together and spent countless hours in the car, scouring the coastline of our home town, looking for waves.
I loved those trips in the car, telling jokes and speculating about ridiculous scenarios like: “If you had to marry a mermaid, would you rather the top or bottom half was a fish?”. My love for surfing and searching for waves was in me for the long haul, but John’s passions were destined to be stolen away by a very different beast altogether.
About 6 or 7 years ago he bought himself a little Lumix camera and started taking photos just for fun. He was pretty good from the outset, but his talent would soon be outweighed by what can only be described as a fervent passion, even an obsession, for photography. When I was waking up early to find waves before the wind picked up, he was waking up even earlier to catch the golden hour, and we got less and less water-time together. I missed having him around to do surf missions with, but it was easy to see that he had really found something that he loved to do and that there wasn’t much, if anything, that would change that.
Honestly, I have never met anyone as passionate about anything as John is about photography. He has spent more hours reading up on the subject and getting his shots critiqued on forums than Oprah has spent being on diet.
About 3 years ago John resigned from his really well-paying job as a Business Analyst (fancy name for an IT slave) to take up a job as a High School teacher. His monthly wage was more than halved, but his plan was to have more time to devote to his craft and his goal of making a living purely from being a photographer. Just over a year ago John moved to London, from our small town in South Africa, so that he could be living in a place that offered more opportunities as a photographer. He and his wife, Tina, sold pretty much everything they owned and moved to a new country where they have no support system to pursue John’s career as a photographer. Tina often jokes that John loves photography more than he loves her, and while that’s definitely not true it would be well within reason to say that it’s a very close second.
I do some video production as part of what I do for a living and I have learned more about lighting, composition and photographic theory from John than I have from any of the books I’ve read or RSS feeds I’m subscribed to. In a way I am forced to learn from him because he just loves to talk about photography and his passion for it is contagious.
I recently bought a 7D to shoot video with, but I have found myself shooting a lot of photos. Something I didn’t expect I would do, but John makes me want to be a better photographer because he’s so into it. It’s like he knows something I don’t and I want to be in on the secret.
Currently John has a job as a teacher in London, but he spends every weekend shooting or editing, or both. He and Tina spend every school holiday, and most of their money, on trips to other countries to shoot. They recently did a trip to Iceland and the shots are ridiculous!
If you need some quality photographic work done or a photographer to collaborate with then definitely check John out – he’s the guy I call on whenever I have a job that requires the kind of work that he produces and if I ever get a really big time job he’ll be on it!