People person Khotso Tsaagane’s Instagram account is filled with images of people. But unlike high fashion portraits this Canon creative really captures the character of his subjects.
He is a South African born Marketing graduate and freelance photographer working in and around the Johannesburg area. He uses the word ‘Antevasin’, which simply means ‘In-Betweener’, to describe living on the border line between his old thinking and new understandings, he is constantly on a quest of learning something new every single day of his life.
He shares his journey and process of capturing the essence of his subjects.
How was your interest in photography sparked?
My interest in photography sparked during my 1st year in University when I was still studying marketing. I remember my reason for it was to create visual content for my friends who were upcoming musicians back then and I felt it was necessary for them to have visual content to go with the music they were putting out. That was back in 2010, at the time I was using my phone to shoot and got my hands on my first camera in 2012, started a blog called Love Through The Window where I used to post some of the content (I checked quite recently if it still exists, but it seems as if Tumblr kicked me out. Ha!!)
Luckily he still has an active Tumblr account to follow, which he posts to frequently.
Was your first camera a Canon?
Yes, my first camera was a Canon 550D, which I still use to date.
Why did you choose Canon?
My mentor at the time was also a Canon user and he advised me to get the Canon. I found it very easy to navigate, and it simply proved to be a solid camera to use. I still use it to date and it hasn’t disappointed at all. As cliche as it sounds, I’ve used different cameras and models through the years, ultimately most of the work relies on the photographer and what you want to achieve when you shoot, the camera comes secondary honestly.
What do you want to achieve when you shoot?
I love shooting portraits and my approach to this is to elicit as much honesty as I possibly can when I shoot, therefore I’m not very selective with the subjects I shoot.
Why do you love shooting character portraits so much?
I personally enjoy shooting portraits of people because I find people interesting generally and when it comes to beauty we tend to be very selective as a people. My belief is that everybody is beautiful in their own way and they are worthy of being made to feel that way.
What technical techniques do you use to get the perfect shot? Is there a specific type of lighting or lens you prefer to use? Or does it all boil down to getting the person to open up?
In terms of techniques, I honestly have none in particular, my approach is more dependent on their reactions and that comes from the conversations we have while shooting. Therefore, my approach is to not jump straight into shooting mode, but to start the process off as a conversation and shoot in between, whenever I see certain reactions being evoked through that conversation.
My go to lens is my Canon 50mm 1.8 Lens and in terms of lighting, I use lighting that’s already available to me and you’ll see in my work that I use a lot of natural light.
What is your most memorable shoot to date?
It’s tough one, I won’t lie! My most memorable to shoot to date is a shoot I did with my friend Poelo Mofolo. We did this shoot at a location around my neighborhood at an abandoned building, which has since been revamped, not sure what they are going to make of it but I’m glad we did it before that happened and the photos came out great. I do have a couple of memorable shoots that I’ve done, and some of my most memorable also come from weddings I’ve shot throughout the years. And I have to mention that some memorable photos are also from when I worked at Between 10 and 5, best 2 years of my life because that’s where I saw my work really improve.