For those wondering who takes my Instagram photos (with just the correct precision and light), I’ll let you know, it’s definitely not my mother.
A timeless photograph for Instagram that makes it looks like I wasn’t posing is priceless. There’s only one photographer who can make it look like I’m crossing a New York street in heels effortlessly (not to mention this international photographer is the only person who can make my relationship photo’s with my boyfriend look like the perfect Nicolas Sparks novel cover).
Tanja Rootman has a way of making the people in photo’s come alive, and she’s doing it around the world. Working between South Africa, New York, Hong Kong and Paris, I asked this SA based photographer what it is this makes her pictures, so darn good.
How did you get into photography?I’ve always liked photography. I was one of those crazy people that always had photos of my friends on my wall. One day I decided it was time to take my passion and make a career from it and I contacted professional photographers in the industry and offered to work for them for free until I was good enough for them to pay me! I was really lucky because this was where I had all my one on one time with some of the best in the business.
How did you get to the point in your career where you are travelling the world to take photographs? It’s every photographers dream! I travelled a lot with friends and took photos of them in different cities around the world and it was then that the bug bit! That is how I got into the international market. I am very fortunate to be able to shoot in all these different locations around the world. This year has been very busy for me. As it stands now, in 2018, I would have done Australia, 8 trips to New York, 4tripsto Hong Kong and an upcoming trip to Paris.
What is your favourite city in the world to shoot it?
It is difficult to choose! I shoot the most in Hong Kong and New York. I am very fond of both of them. I would have to say at this point in time, my favourite between the two would have to be New York. This city is electric with a spot for every person. There is never a shortage of things to capture. My favourite way to capture the city is take photos on the streets amongst the yellow cabs, the people and the architecture.
What is your favourite thing to shoot?
That’s another difficult question! I love shooting people because I can get emotion out of people and I can make people happy when they see their photos. I love the idea of telling a story. I have to be honest and say I love working with adults because it’s easier for me to relate to them. I absolutely love couples photos and portraits.
Who is your dream photographer to work with?
I would love to work with Lindsay Adler! (Instagram @lindsayadler_photo)
How would you describe your style of photography?
For me, photography needs to be timeless. I would like people to look at the photos in ten years’ time and still think it’s beautiful. I try and avoid trends or styles that might be popular at the time (even though some of them are beautiful). Trends pass and I don’t want my photographs to be dated. You might look at your wedding photos in many years and hate your dress because fashion has changed but at least you will still love the photos because they are classic.
Where are 3 destinations you would like to shoot that you haven’t yet? I love drama so wouldlove to shoot somewhere like Iceland because you can make it dramatic (and there is no place like it). I would also like to shoot in Croatia because of the emotionality of the architecture and then definitely India because of the colours and the people.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I read a lot of fashion magazines and follow of lot of prominent travel photographers because often when they are shooting in the field they have limited access to equipment, so the way they use the light is so important and that is where you see real talent.
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Travelling and telling stories about people. I would love to keep creating and be able to learn more from the places I visit.
Advice for future photographers who want to travel as much as you do?
It takes time to get to a point where you are comfortable enough with your work to take it abroad. Be patient and know who you are as a creative and always shoot what is true to you and what you enjoy. When you stay true to who you are, your work will speak for itself and you will make a success of it.
Whatto shoot with Tanja? In addition to being in Johannesburg, South Africa, you can book a session with Tanja Rootman Photography in these cities for the remainder of 2018.