Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, but now based in Cape Town, Stephanie Blomkamp creates beautiful surreal images that are striking and cinematic yet elegant and feminine. She is the founder of Oatha magazine celebrating photographers and championing emerging voices in Africa and she also spends her time mentoring other photographers.
Stephanie strongly believes that film photography shows a dedication to craftsmanship that you don’t get with digital. Most of his work is shot on his beloved Hasselblad 503CXI which was unfortunately stolen from him once, leaving him heartbroken. The story however has a happy ending as she miraculously came back into his life.
She told Hasselblad about the day she found her home and was robbed and how shocked she was when a friend called her, describing a medium format camera she had found for sale in a bargain of vintage cameras in Cape Town, which was indeed his.
Clearly a creative force to be reckoned with, Stephanie has advice on how to overcome self-doubt, stand out, and launch a career in photography. His work has appeared in some of the world’s leading publications, including vogue, Forbes and fashion company and now she has been selected as Hasselblad Heroine 2022.
We caught up with this inspirational photographer to talk about her journey to success and where her love of photography comes from.
How old were you when you started photography?
I was 14 years old. I pulled out my dad’s camera and have been hooked ever since.
Who or what inspired you to do this?
I’ve always been drawn to visual things. It all started when I got my hands on the tools to create my own images.
Do you have a favorite photo or project you’ve worked on?
Yes, I am the editor of a photography magazine here in South Africa called Oath. It is a platform that defends photographers from all over Africa. What is coming out visually on this side of the world is very exciting. I clearly see my purpose in life, to celebrate the art of photography. Whether it’s shooting my own images or singing the praises of other photographers’ work, my compass always points to photography.
If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?
All roads will eventually lead to where you need to be, no matter how off-road they feel right now. Go on a trip. I’ve learned that the creative process is a roller coaster, with intense ups and downs – so I prepare for both and enjoy the ride.
What does it mean to you to have been chosen as a Hasselblad heroine?
It is an honor to be selected as a Hasselblad heroine. It’s great to be among my fellow Hasselblad Heroines this year and I’m proud to be part of an initiative that supports female photographers. I have admired the brand for a long time and have used my Hasselblad 503CXi camera regularly for over a decade. The quality of it is remarkable. What I like the most about me are the technical elements of the film camera. The mechanism that makes the clicks, when it rings, I feel a real joy. Sometimes that’s the sound of success and I just know I had a good hit.
What was your biggest obstacle to get where you are?
Self-doubt. Something everyone struggles with, but I think it’s acute in most creatives.
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