It was while working at a local state hospital as a clinical technologist that Madelene Cronjé decided to change careers. “After school, I studied Clinical Technology and worked for two years at the Joburg General Hospital [now Charlotte Maxeke Johannesburg]. It was during this time I realised that I wanted to do something more creative, but at the same time try to make a difference in people’s lives.” Madelene’s photographs have featured on the pages of the Mail & Guardian, Media24, Sunday Times, and more. We briefly chatted to her about her journey into photography, the challenges of freelancing and the advice she’d impart to aspiring photojournalists. Do you see yourself as an artist or journalist? More a photojournalist than artist.
How do you prepare for potentially violent public demonstrations as a photojournalist? When things do get hectic, I read the situation [and] go with my gut feeling. Also, I find being kind always keeps me out of trouble. It’s only if you’re arrogant that things get weird.What advice do you have for aspiring photojournalists? You have to genuinely care about subject matter. Lack of empathy is very easy to see in photographs. Be open to constructive criticism but also have faith in your style of shooting. Always put yourself in the shoes of whoever you are photographing. Hustle. Never say no to a job, however hard it is, it will work out. Follow Madelene.