Featured Pro Photographer: Dave Fisher

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Dave Fisher is a Cape Town based photographer and educator. With a passion for photography and social issues as well as a belief in the power of visual images to tell stories, Dave is committed to empowering people to explore the world around them through photography and to communicate important stories from their communities.

The Interview

1. How would you classify your photographic style and who inspires you?

I aspire to a blend of environmental portraiture and an informal photojournalistic style and my favourite photographer is James Nachtwey.

2. What is it that draws you to pick up your camera and take a photo?

I am fascinated by the world we live in and the people who inhabit it. Each space has a unique essence and I love to explore this with my camera.

3. What type of gear do you use and do you have any favourites?

A Canon 5D mark III but am happy with anything from a medium format film camera to a point and shoot special!

4. What would be your ultimate shot and how would you shoot it?

I would love to shoot a portrait of Pope Francis - natural early morning light, black and white. But I would also love to photograph a Rastafarian man I met a few weeks ago who lives near my house

5. What is the most challenging part of photographing your preferred subject?

Time. I love to photograph people but this almost always takes a lot of time. I often feel I need to spend time with someone and "earn the right" to take their photo. Finding the time to just hang out with people and build relationship is challenging.

6. What’s next on the horizon that you’re most excited about?

In partnership with Penda Photo Trust, I am launching the Ibali Photo Collective next month which is a project that has been brewing for years. I am so excited about the opportunity to finally get it up and running.

7. What sparked the seed for the Ibali Photo Collective?

I have always seen photography as a beautiful medium of communication as it just has the ability to suspend a moment in time enticing the viewer to engage. I have always been drawn to people's stories and particularly those stories told through the lens of a camera. Coupled with this, I worked with teenagers for a number of years when I was a high school teacher, and at that time I became very interested to know how young people see South Africa and the issues we currently face as a country. I believe photography is an incredibly powerful tool for young people to engage with their own perspectives and to highlight what they see as significant in the world. Ibali is about telling stories, it's about telling their stories. I want to create a platform for stories to be told from the perspective of people who don't usually get to have their voices heard.

8. What’s your long-term vision for this project?

I have a vision of seeing multiple projects running concurrently, creating a platform for young people across the country to use photography as a way to connect and better understand their world and the world of others. It's a way for us all to gain some empathy and compassion, to share our stories and engage with the stories of others.

9. How can people help or get involved with the Ibali Photo Collective?

At this stage we are looking for donations of any photographic equipment for the project (and I mean anything!) at Cameraland. We are also looking for some basic funding to get the project moving and people can donate via our givengain campaign. We would also love to connect with anyone who wants to know more or find out how they can get practically involved so we would encourage everyone to check out the project page online. Also, be sure to follow Penda Trust on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter for updates on the project.

10. If you could go back in time and offer yourself one piece of advice when you picked up the camera for the first time, what would it be?

I started on a film camera and I found the whole process of taking a photo to be such a magical experience. I would encourage anyone starting out to never lose hold of that feeling.


Dave Fisher | Ibali Photo Collective Photographer

Portrait by Annerien Nel


"I believe photography is an incredibly powerful tool for young people to engage with their own perspectives and to highlight what they see as significant in the world."

By Dave Fisher
By Dave Fisher
By Dave Fisher

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