An Interview with Photographer Hansie Oosthuizen

Hermanus Craft Beer Festival 2017: Interview with Dirkie van der Merwe
December 18, 2017
Overberg landscape photography by Hansie Oosthuizen


It’s always a pleasure to cross paths with Hansie Oosthuizen. He well known for his skill as an architectural photographer in our region, but also very passionate about nature and the environment. Hansie was kind enough to sit down for a few questions.

You are rarely seen without a camera. Where did it all begin?
A long time ago, when I was 6 years old, I was fortunate to receive a compact camera from my grandparents. I don’t know if you remember those flat cameras with the 110 cartridge film? Shortly afterwards I was appointed as our Voortrekker team’s ‘official’ photographer and I enjoyed snapping random stuff. I still have a few of my old photographs. I have to say, when looking through them it makes me wonder what exactly I was shooting sometimes! Occasionally a magnifying glass gives a clue to the subject. Such as an impala under a bush a 100m away.

Although it started quite early for me, life took a few detours before I made it a career. I grew up in Pretoria and after completing a B.Comm degree at Tukkies I spent two years in the UK. Upon returning from my travels I settled in Hermanus in 2002. During this time I started pursuing the idea of becoming a professional photographer and I completed a diploma course at the National College of Photography in 2004. I have been working as a freelance photographer since.

What do you enjoy most about photography?
Photography has a way of teaching people to see the world differently, it trains one to be more detail oriented. In my own life, taking pictures has two different sides. It’s both recreation and career. When I photograph for fun I tend to lose myself in the moment. It’s wonderfully creative and I forget about the rest of the world for a while. But being a career photographer also has its perks, I never have a dull moment! Except maybe for the time spent editing.

Do you have a specific love or subject focus?
Well, career-wise, I specialise in architectural photography, it is a niche where you really have to understand all aspects of photography and lighting to make top-notch mages. In my free time, I am always drawn to nature photography and I especially love seascapes.

Are there any photographers that you admire or have influenced your work?
Yes, most definitely. I think in today’s age of digital sharing we are influenced by many different photographers from all over the world. I have been privileged to have Freeman Patterson as a mentor and he has influenced my photography in many ways, especially with regards to visual design and free thinking. Martin Oshner and Dirk Boshoff are excellent and inspiring lecturers and they didn’t only teach me techniques, but also work ethics. I love Koos van de Lende’s landscape photography and the creativity of Obie Oberholtzer’s photographs.

What has been the most memorable moment of your career?
In 2008 I won the ‘Image of the Year’ award at the Sony Profoto awards, for a close-up of a gecko’s foot I photographed. There were over 4000 images entered by South African pro photographers and it was a real honour to receive this award.

Tell us a little about life in your hometown, Hermanus. Do you have a few favourite places you enjoy shooting?
I wouldn’t want to stay anywhere else than in Hermanus. It is a beautiful town full of friendly people and we are surrounded by stunning scenery, filled with diverse fauna and flora.

I would have to list the entire area as my favourite place. You know there is a saying coined by Freeman Patterson, “The best place to photograph is where you are.” But if I had to single out a few of my favourite spots it would be:

– Fernkloof Nature Reserve
– Vermont shoreline
– Rotary way
– Hemel and Aarde Valley
– Theewaterskloof dam

After a long work week, where do you go to unwind?

I like the Gecko Bar in the New Harbour and Tipples-Onrus to unwind once in a while.
Coco’s makes great cocktails and has a lekker happy hour. Die Plaaskombuis is a great restaurant and very kids friendly.

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Hansie Recommends: