10 more SA photographers doing beautiful things on Instagram [Digital All Stars]

kirschner de villiers digital all stars instagram south africa

Digital All Stars is a series of articles which aims to celebrate the best of South African digital. The articles, which will appear on Memeburn and Ventureburn, recognise and celebrate South Africa’s best digital entrepreneurs, business people, advertisers, and media professionals among others.

Earlier this year, we took a look at a list of Instagrammers with less than 1000 followers who should seriously have a slew more.

In this edition of Digital All Stars, we revisit a previous topic, but instead raise the bar to 2500 followers. Why? For one, we realised that there’s a bevy of accounts across Instagram’s sprawling network that we did not include in the first article.

Secondly, there are so many more photographers who deserve to be recognised.

Thirdly, it’s high time we — as citizens — celebrate the budding and extremely talented artists South Africa has on offer, accelerated by the likes of social media.

With that said, we take a look at just a few more South African Instagrammers, from Cape Town to Durban, from the Midlands to the Highveld, who you should think about following.

Note: If you feel that we’ve left anyone out of this list, or would like to nominate someone on Instagram for inclusion, please get in touch with us via email. This article will be one of many for this Digital All Stars sub-series.

Lee Henriques (@eelville)

#Throwback to summer nights 🦅

A post shared by l e e (@eelville) on

Lee Henriques’s deft Instagram account, laced with pictures of all hues, subjects and emotion, was difficult to ignore.

While other Instagram profiles we’ve covered in the past focus primarily on one particular style, Henriques’s snaps seem to vary from day to day.

While portraits feature heavily, displaying the diversity of human emotion, there are also soft focus shots of the beaches of Cape Town, and sunset captures that exude warmth.

We’ve reached out to Henriques, but he was unable to respond prior to the publishing of this article.

Sihle (@sphephotography)

</div> </div>

“All Rise” Overlooking the high-rise inner city apartments of Hillbrow & the Ponte tower dominating the skyline #jozi

A post shared by Sihle (@sphephotography) on

Even for someone who have never popped a shutter button before, Johannesburg’s skyline has an alluring quality. And it’s that quality that Sihle’s photographs bring to the fore.

While his later work showcase the city’s skyscrapers, other works include portraits of South Africans, and monochome snaps of the temperamental Gauteng weather.

We’ve reached out to Sihle, but he was unable to respond prior to the publishing of this article.

Kirschner de Villiers (@kirschdv)

Age: 20
Setup: Nikon D300s and Nikon D80 | Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5 lens, Tamron 28-200mm lens f/3.8 and Nikkor 50mm lens

Kirschner de Villiers’s Instagram timeline is an excellent balance between colour, subject and style. His snaps, captured using two Nikon cameras, boast a bevy of soft tones and splashes of hues.

He’s currently freelancing, but is applying for university in 2018, he tells Memeburn.

“I joined Instagram in late 2014 as a way to connect with friends and see what was happening in our social spheres,” de Villiers adds.

“I started taking photos with my iPhone late 2015 and picked up my mom’s D300 in March of this year and since have fallen in love with taking photos.”

His favourite picture, he recalls, was of his brother “where he’s in focus and behind him is completely under exposed”. This also supports his love for portraits, and more interestingly, astrophotography.

“I am driven by exploration and adventure. I enjoy the big adventures like travelling to the Drakensburg, but I am drawn to small adventures such as walking and finding unusual things to capture anywhere possible.”

As for an end goal, de Villiers hopes to become a photojournalist for National Geographic.

Shingayi Sikipa (@bantuframe)


A post shared by Shingayi Sikipa (@bantuframe) on

There’s very little (if anything) to dislike about Shingayi Sikipa’s street photography.

Capturing Johannesburg’s thriving city life from the ground up, his lens almost always seems pointed towards a building. But that’s not exactly a bad thing.

When not capturing the city’s architecture, Sikipa also freezes the perpetual movement of Jozi’s people in still life.

We’ve reached out to Sikipa, but he was unable to respond prior to the publishing of this article.

Xander and Mariaan Buys (@nomads.nature)

Ages: 55 and 53 respectively
Setup: Canon 650D, Canon 100D, Canon PowerShot A2200 | Canon EF 50 mm f/1.8 II lens, Canon EF-S 18-55 mm f/3.5-5.6 IS lens, Canon EF-S 55-250 mm f/4-5.6 IS lens, Canon EF-S 75-300 mm f/4-5.6 IS lens and Canon EF 28-80 mm f/3.5-5.6 II lens

Xander and Mariaan Buys — better known by their Instagram handle Nomads Travel and Nature — told us that Instagram is “the best-suited platform for photographers to display their work”.

“It is a bit cumbersome to publish images but well worth the effort. The proper use of hashtags makes it easy to reach your intended audience,” they add.

It wasn’t always the case though.

Xander explains that when he was growing up, film cameras were the tour de force.

“As I grew up, I also had a selection of my own cameras — in those days cheap 120 mm spool film cameras were widely used.  These were slung along to capture images on school outings and family holidays and the like,” he notes.

A husband and wife team, Xander and Mariaan Buys specialise in nature, travel, architecture, lifestyle and concert photography. But it was the former that caught our eye.

‘In those days cheap 120 mm spool film cameras were widely used’

They also operate two additional photography streams, with Mariaan beginning a new venture in the coming months.

“Our current plans are to visit as many new places as possible, time and budget permitting,” they add.

“Our long-term plan is to develop our portfolio to such a standard so that we can obtain endorsements/sponsorships for a three-year venture we plan to undertake once we retire.”

“In short, we want to travel through South Africa extensively to promote nature conservation and tourism by means of our website and social media presence.”

Zac Zinn (@zaczinn)

Age: 19
Setup: Canon 70D | Canon 24mm lens and Canon 10-18mm lens5

This is Living 🌅 #capetown #southafrica #sunrise

A post shared by Zac Zinn (@zaczinn) on

Zac Zinn might be one of the youngest people on this list, but his photography suggests anything but.

“Ever since I was young I have always been drawn to photos and capturing photos,” he tells Memeburn

“The thought of capturing a moment that you have experienced and having the ability to share that moment with others is what I love most.”

He started snapping with a GoPro, but moved to a DSLR a few years later.

“What drives me the most is trying to capture moments that many tend to miss. Many individuals do not know of the beauty that lies at their doorstep because they are too lazy or they are too busy with work,” he adds.

Shooting landscapes, Zinn explains that photography also involves a bit of happenstance.

“One of my favourite images on my feed is the photo I took of Lion’s Head with a strike of lighting in the background. I did not mission that day thinking i was going to be shooting lightning however i just happened to be in the right place and the right time.”

While Instagram allows him to show off his work, he tells us, he also hopes to travel the world to document lesser-visited tourist destinations.

For now, Cape Town will do nicely.

Lutendo Malatji (@luu_artphotography)

Age: 25
Setup: Nikon D5300 and Nikon D700

Lutendo Malatji’s photography can be described in two words: gritty and honest.

His portraits capture his subjects’ emotion with ease, while his landscape photography is raw and unapologetically celebratory of South Africa’s varied textures.

“It all began in 2012 then in 2014 I went to study photography at the Market Photo Workshop. I started using Instagram in 2014 when we were given an assignment to be active online,” Malatji tells us.

‘There’s something about humans that I cannot really explain’

While his feed only features around 160 snaps, he has already garnered a following of over 1800 people.

As for what drives him: nostalgia, the drive to become better and his overall love for photography.

“I would say that the zeal to actually want to be one of the best photographers in the country (and possibly the world). A different photographer to those that are there now,” he tells us.

“I honestly do not have one because anything that strikes me, I capture. Human figures tend to stand out the most. There’s something about humans that I cannot really explain.”

Malatji’s work was recently showcased at th Turbine Art Fair in Johannesburg.

It’s not difficult to see why.

Lynsey Anne Hughes (@theycallmelynsey)

Lynsey Anne Hughes’ Instagram feed is littered with perspective photography, bright scenes and the skyline of Durban from the Indian ocean.

As a paddle boarder, Hughes’ roll feels like an ode to the ocean in many respects.

She’s by no means a one trick pony though.

Portraits, wildlife photography and sunsets all feature highly on her to-snap list.

We’ve reached out to Hughes, but she was unable to respond prior to the publishing of this article.

Shirin (@_s_h_i_r_i_n_)

#vscocam #latergram #igersdaily #iphoneographysa #cityofcapetown #campsbay #goldenhour

A post shared by Shirin (@_s_h_i_r_i_n_) on

While Durban might not feature as prominently on Instagram as the likes of Johannesburg or Cape Town, it’s definitely not shy of remarkable photography.

Shirin’s Instagram roll is one such example.

While earlier work on the feed was gritty and stylised, toned by intense shadows and monochomatic subjects, later photographs express Durban’s urban beauty.

We’ve reached out to Shirin, but did not receive a reponse prior to the publishing of this article.

Andrew Kingston (@drewski_f1.8)

Age: 37
Setup: Fujifilm X Pro-1 | 35mm f/1.4 interchangeable lens

Andrew Kingston’s photography showcases his adept eye for framing the shot, be it a staircase in an otherwise ordinary building, or a vibrant street corner in Johannesburg’s inner city.

He joined the world of Instagram in 2011 but only began using the network in earnest for his photography in 2015. From there’s his creativity also blossomed another account, that captures sneakers “with a unique Jozi background theme”.

His real love though is street photography.

“Your captures are never the same and tell the story of life on the street. Every now and then I’ll pop in a portrait of someone with an interesting story to tell,” he tells Memeburn.

‘There are such talented people out there doing amazing stuff’

But what of interesting buildings with stories to tell? Kingston recalls his favourite snap taken within Johannesburg’s Ponte Towers:

“Such an eerie experience but managed to get the shot that had eluded me for months. It literally feels like you’re inside an abandoned space station,” he tells us.

He’s currently experimenting with levitation snaps, and hints that long exposure photography is the next technique to be etched into his repertoire.

Even so, Kingston believes that South Africa’s photographic talents run far beyond Instagram.

“There are such talented people out there doing amazing stuff,” he explains. “Even my 12 year old son has been bitten by the camera bug and shoots with me all the time. He’s built up a nice following and continues to show a marked interest on the art form.”

Feature image: supplied by Kirschner de Villiers

Andy Walker, former editor


Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest in digital insights. sign up

Welcome to Memeburn

Sign up to our newsletter to get the latest in digital insights.