27 Aug Featured: Hayden Phipps
Hayden Phipps is a Cape Town based photographer who likes to take photos of the things that surround him, and who strives to take pictures of the things he finds interesting to look at. This natural curation makes for intriguing photo stories. Hayden’s work has a narrative quality probably due to his enjoyment of shooting documentary-style. At the same time, part of his work shows an appreciation for straight lines and minimalist photography.
Raised in Durban-bordering, industrial Pinetown, Hayden’s journey to photography took an alternative route via Oceanography. He filled us in on the then until now:
I didn’t grow up in a very creative environment. The folk of Pinetown had their creative powers pushed to the limits either in choosing the design of their post box (normally an asbestos golf ball or log) or how close they could get their braai to the pool, but still be close enough to the TV for Saturday sport. I might still be there if someone hadn’t handed me a tape to tape to tape to tape copy of The Mighty Lemon Drops’ album, ‘Happy Heads’ at the age of twelve in the mid 80s. It’s probably not even a good album, but beyond the tape hiss, was my first taste of outsider music in our isolated (pre internet) world drowning in asbestos postboxes and Kylie Minogues ‘The Locomotion’.
To pursue this kind of music was a creative procedure all in itself. It required networking with people, who knew people, who knew people that lived overseas, a constant supply of TDK 90s, a good quality Tape to Tape deck and the occasional tapehead cleaner. Surfing was another creative outlet, and seemed to go hand in hand with music and traveling, exposing me to life beyond Pinetown.
When I finished school in the early 90s we had three options: go to the army for two years, study, or do some kind of community work which sounded very close to a prison sentence. For obvious reasons I chose to study. Not knowing what to study, I looked at my interests – surfing and punk rock – and settled on Oceanography (well at least it ticked one box).
I first discovered my interest in photography while working on my Masters degree. We were expected to have a 35mm camera as part of our tool kit. In the field we took photographs of rock and sediment formations as well as underwater shots of in situ samples. Back in the lab we had a camera rigged up to our microscopes to capture the details of collected samples. It was with this camera that I first started to experiment with photography.
After working for a few years as an oceanographer, Hayden made the transition to photography and launched his self-taught career as a travel photographer covering Southern and East Africa, based in Livingstone. Frustration with the lack of scope in the work fueled his move to Cape Town.
Hayden’s current portfolio is a mix of documentary and travel photography, portraiture, commissions, and themed photo series. His most recent project, ‘They came from Above’, is part social commentary and part 1950s sci-fi homage. He says, “By removing the support framework of various everyday structures found on our horizons, I want people to stop and take note of the technology that now surround us. If these structures were transported back in time would people perceive them as alien?”
His romantic attachment to film means most of his projects are shot on his Mamiya RZ 67 and Canon EOS 1 35mm.
See more at www.haydenphipps.com
They Came From Above:
Are You Lonesome Tonight?: