Angus Burns, Chantelle du Toit and Barbara Seegers living life through the lens of a camera

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Photography is more than simply taking photos. It is about capturing moments in life, creating memories and capturing emotions. In fact, American photojournalist Burk Uzzle once said, “Photography is a love affair with life.”

These words resonate truth, with photographers creating moments of life that will last a lifetime, as they pursue their love affair with life.

The Newcastillian speaks to three local photographers and finds out more about their passion for photography and their life behind the lens.

Chantelle du Toit explains her passion for photography began during her childhood years.

“Ever since I was a little girl, I have always been in love with photos and the concept of being able to document a story in pictures. I used to think that creatively I was as a writer, but I always wanted to be a photographer growing up. Even when it wasn’t fashionable. In high school, my dad taught me what he knew on old Canon film cameras that he had bought in Japan in 1976.”

Chantelle with her husband Francois.

From there her passion and love for photography grew exponentially. But what does she enjoy about photography?

“Life is all about moments. And so is photography. It’s that split second of realness, that will never happen again, that’s caught in a frozen moment that is so special. I love authentic images, genuine in-between moments and raw emotion. And I love people! So, I am always honoured to be a part of people’s important milestones.”

Chantelle says to share in a family’s special occasion is a gift she is always grateful for. “Because for me, photography is about people, and relationships, and human connection. And usually, there is cake,” she laughs.

Chantelle eventually began RockStar Photography, an experience she has loved every minute of.

“In 2011, I got my first DSLR, and it all began to take root. I learned from other photographers, did some online learning, took some courses, and slowly my education and love for photography grew. When I was confident enough, I started doing some photoshoots. I loved it, and Rockstar Photography took off.”

During her journey in the photography world, Chantelle says she has experience memorable highlights that will live with her forever.

“Highlights are being able to document someone’s story. Everybody has a story to tell. And I want to tell it. My favourite quote is by Destiny Sparks, and it says, “Photography is the story that I fail to put into words”.”

Chantelle says there is also a certain celebrity that she took a photo of, which reappears on media occasionally and has landed up in his book.

What makes the perfect photo for Chantelle?

“I prefer a natural, documentary-style shooting. So, it’s about letting people be themselves. You shoot around them, and their personalities. It has to be genuine moments that really represent them, as they are.”

Furthermore, Chantelle says she is a stickler for good composition and good editing. “When a family looks at a photo of themselves, I want it to reflect them honestly. And lastly, you keep shooting.”

How does Chantelle Photography has changed her?

“I am occasionally quite cynical, and more often impatient. Photography helps me stay in touch with my soft, sappy, romantic, human side. It teaches me that love comes in all phases, shapes and types and that you need to draw on levels of patience that you never knew you had. Such as when dealing with a toddler who hates you for no reason and refuses to smile. Funnily enough, my favourite shoots are family ones, and the kids are my rockstars!”

Barbara Seegers explains her journey into the photographic world began approximately 10 years ago, while her children were still small.

“The children didn’t want me to take so many photos of them and I started taking photos of everything else.”

Her passion for photography growing daily and the importance of each image leaving its own unique mark on her soul.

“You don’t release just how important a photograph is; until the photograph is the only thing you have left,” she emphasises.

With an eye for composition, Barbara explains that as her love for photography grew, she decided to study photography. Through her studies, she acquired a substantial amount of knowledge, which only fuelled her passion for photography.

What does Barbara enjoy most about photography?

“For me, photography is a form of therapy. It allows me to look at things differently and reminds me, that no matter what is going on around me, I just need to focus and have patience,” she smiles.

What makes the perfect photo for Barbara?

“Landscapes and wildlife. When it comes to landscapes and you want to photograph a sunset, you can sit there for an hour and only get one or two really good photos.”

When it comes to wildlife, Barbara says animals show no interest in the camera and are always themselves. Allowing photographers, the opportunity to capture magnificent images.

What are the highlights of her photography journey so far?

A number of Barbara’s photographs have appeared in exhibits by Gurushots, these exhibits taking place in Italy, Athens and Melbourne. Her work has also appeared in a gallery in Birmingham, England.

Taking part in a series of challenges hosted by Gurushots, Barbara explains her work appearing in exhibits happened entirely by accident.

“I didn’t realise I had actually entered an exhibit challenge until I was notified that I did exceptionally well, with my images set to appear in an exhibit. I nearly jumped out of my skin,” she laughs.

With some of her images being shared internationally, what are Barbara’s plans for the future?

“I would like to continue doing exhibits and it will be nice to sell a few of my photos, but it is not something I would do full time, as it is not always a stable income.”

For now, she explains she will focus on creating more images to fuel her passion for photography, allowing her creativity to flow.

Angus Burns is a man who needs no introduction when it comes to Newcastle’s photography scene. His images captivating the attention of scores of people on a regular basis.

“I have always been interested in photography and I was fortunate to have access to Pentax cameras as a child,” he explains.

As he grew older, his passion for photography saw him become more involved in astrophotography, which led him to acquire his first Astro DSLR camera, a Canon 60DA. A camera specially designed to capture the beauty of heavenly bodies.

After training, learning more and more about photography, the technical side of photography rekindled his old love for photography, and he began taking acquired another camera to photograph beautiful moments on earth as well.

Immersing himself into photography, starting Angus Burns Photography, Angus became such a hit that he is now booked for the next six months. “Being fully booked for the next six months shows there is a demand for it,” he says.

However, Angus doesn’t like to restrict himself with his photography. Covering a broad spectrum, from macro photography, landscapes, wildlife, portraits and much more, Angus does his utmost to ensure his artistic side is always satisfied.

“I am also fortunate in that I travel a lot for work, and I am able to take people on a journey with me.”

This he does by posting a lot of his photographs on social media, allowing people to witness the beauty of nature and various locations in South Africa.

“I love teaching and if I can expose people to something new, showing them what I see and inspire them, then I feel good.”

With a passion for deep-seated passion for photography, sharing South Africa and nature’s beauty, as well as teaching people through his images, what else does Angus enjoy about photography?

“I love the creative process and the artistry part of capturing a moment. I always try to ensure a photograph is creative, educational or even both. Then there is the processing part, where I capture the data and putting it all together to get the result.”

With models, Angus says he enjoys working with themes and creating a creative process which sees makeup, wardrobe, lighting becomes part of the day’s fun.

How has photography changed Angus’s life?

“I would have to say it has enriched my life. Everywhere I go, I look to see how I can create a moment with my photography. It makes life more magical, as I don’t wake up and think “Oh, it’s morning.” I now wake up excited and looking forward to the day, as I look at the world around me.”

Furthermore, Angus says his photography has given him the opportunity to give talks around his astrophotography and nature photos.

As a conservationist, another highlight is seeing his photos in publications such as the WWF, as well as in the media, both online and print.

Another highlight for Angus is seeing his images being printed and put up at Blackrock Casino at the VIP Lounge. “There are about 15 of my photos there and it is almost like a mini-exhibit,” he smiles.

The photographs include a magnificent lightning image, which highlights the beauty and power of nature.

With Angus, Chantelle and Barbara capturing moments through the lens of their camera, the Newcastillian salutes them for their contribution to art and beauty.

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