Andre van Rooyen

Andre

I have almost three score years of earth and it’s inhabitants.
Some good, some bad, and some… just doesn’t fit well in any box.
And yet, I’m still just making this up as I go. What’s up with that?

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I was exposed to photography from my early teens, my father leveraging his hobby, to expand his social and financial horizons, through shooting friend’s and colleague’s weddings and functions, mostly on Saturdays. The excess of the social interactions weighed heavily on him on the Sundays, and so I’d get the mindless repetitive job of developing and drying hundreds of function photos that had to be ready to go on Monday, in our home darkroom. The quid pro quo wasn’t money, but rather the use of his Zeiss Icarex SLR, the 135mm tele, and a couple of rolls of Ilford FP4 black and white film, whenever we went to the motor-racing at Killarney. That was my passion. We raced Formula 1 cars as a national championship back then, we had a hotly-contested national production cars series, and at the end of each year we had the Sprinbok endurance series, leading up to the 9-hours of Kyalami. A target-rich environment for a boy with a camera.

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One day I got excited about computer wallpaper. That led to Flickr.
Pretty soon there was a digital camera in my hand. Whoah!

That started me looking at the world around me, that I’d forgotten to look at for too long. I started seeing stuff and realised I wanted to show it to other people. Share it. Flickr it.

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From the moment I caught the digital photography bug, I wanted to shoot wide-angle seascapes. I’d come to digital photography in 2006, by way of Flickr and the images of John Curley, and I was in love with the HUGE, sweeping sky/sea images that he made. Images that made you swear you were standing on the beach, with the surf washing over your feet, and the sky going back over your head, forever.

I really, really wanted to take pictures which felt like that, and I’d gone as far as buying an ultra-wide Sigma lens that was the perfect tool for the job. I was visiting the Cape at every opportunity I had, to feed this obsession, and, of course, along the way,I started toying with the idea of moving, in a kind of non-serious, I’d-love-to-but-I-don’t-think-it’ll-ever-happen kind of way. My income stream was in Gauteng, and I had very strong friendship roots there, and it wasn’t easy to uproot myself, but the Cape was calling.

Then one day during the November 2008 trip, at a tweet-up at Alba Lounge in the Waterfront, all the lights came on at once. Really. My friend Brendon says he saw, and can recall, the moment it happened. That night, I stopped telling myself why I couldn’t, and started asking what it would take, to make it happen.

Two weeks later, I packed what I could fit into the Audi, gave all the furniture and appliances to Loretta, the lady who kept my house clean, said my goodbyes, and drove out onto the N1, heading South. A little over 15 hours later, I was, again, a Capey.

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“I’m a left-brain engineering type, who only recently discovered the artist who had been hiding inside, watching me be all detailed and pedantic, and probably laughing his ass off at my OCD-ness. Well, now he’s out. Loud and proud, shooting up a storm, and on a near-vertical learning curve.” This was written around 2008. I’m still on that crazy learning curve in 2014.

Couple of things about me (photo-things, that is…)

1. I’ve shot Nikon, Canon, Sony, Apple, Nokia, HTC, Sigma. Gear is good. Vision is better.
2. In the past, I’ve concentrated on landscape photography. Now I shoot mostly cars. Even shot a wedding or two.
3. I can’t operate a photocopier to save my life.
4. I firmly believe that all the best photo’s are yet to be taken. Mine especially.

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You can find me on the Twitter: @andrevr
And, the Instagram: andrevr_
And, my Flickr stream: andre.vr

xx