By Penny Robartes
My story of who I am, how I have come to be where I am now and where I am going all started when a little girl’s eyes were opened up to the endless beauty around her via her parent’s love for exploring the outdoors and its wild creatures.
The experiences afforded to me during my childhood explorations, as well as pouring over wildlife documentaries at any given chance, instilled a deep passion in me for our natural world. I knew that somehow, these elements would determine the path my life would lead as well as the development of my identity.
Growing up in South Africa to parents that encouraged appreciation of the outdoors and travel opened my eyes to the world that I now explore, photograph and share with viewers worldwide.
I have always found that I best expressed myself through different creative mediums. In this “space”, I feel no pressure to find the right words in order to correctly communicate them verbally with those around me.
Initially, this creative space took the form in writing and drawings. These platforms carved a path for me where I could translate my thoughts, visions and understanding of the world I was growing up in. When words became menial as I battled to find the perfect descriptions, and my drawings never progressed further than Stephen King-looking adaptations that are very characteristic of preschool art, I became frustrated with no avenue of communication.
Picking up a camera, I started to see the world anew. It became a tool that portrayed my feelings and visions of my subjects and what I saw around me. Photography enabled me to capture images that constantly encouraged me to look at my surroundings and subjects in a different light and to tell their story in a particular way that made these images become extensions of my identity.
Photography is a medium that moulded the person who I was and continues to do so into the person I am still developing into today. Rather than getting lost in thoughts that couldn’t be said and visions that couldn’t be depicted, photography became the physical voice and canvas to my expressions.
Photography has now developed into my way of communicating a larger story; behind each frame you will find an amalgamation of information – my feelings towards the subject, an insight into the animal, the power of that moment captured along with the story told, and who I am as the photographer behind the frame.
Photography is more than just capturing an image. Anyone can do this. It is about translating your connectedness with what you see before you, and for me, it is also allowing my viewers to live that moment and connect with my subject on a level that cannot be verbalised. Through my images and chosen subjects, you will get to know me, the photographer and hopefully feel my limitless passion for the portrayed.
I have been described as a wandering soul, and that is where you will find me; travelling the world to wild destinations with my camera in hand as I photograph wildlife and nature; an exhilarating journey and personal exploration.
One of the greatest things about photography? The creative possibilities are endless, and so is the way you can tell your story. To be able to encourage people to feel the emotions I do, just by looking at my images is testament to the power of a photograph.
So, go outside with your camera. Explore. Do not be inhibited by what you have learnt or what you have been told. Capture your own vision. Tell your own story and let it communicate with others!