I woke up before 6am this morning (this is big before me! In winter I struggle to get up before the sun rises, which is 8am here in Cape Town). On this Youth Day public holiday I was wide awake with an overwhelming sense of gratitude for finding photography and for what it means to me and how it gives my life purpose. Especially with us in South Africa still being under a pretty strict lockdown with Covid being a big and real threat. We did this shoot before Covid hit our shores and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since then.
Up until I moved to Cape Town I was going through the motions in photography, doing what needed to be done to pay my bills and stay relevant. But since I have moved here I have been forced to really think about what it is I want to be putting out into the world. What I want to be putting my energy into. Because my work is a massive chunk of my life. It needs to fulfill me. I will not accept any less than that.
My Oupa was a structural engineer. He designed and built bridges and towers. He loved cameras, traveling and taking photos. I knew I wanted to do something in the arts, but I didn’t know what. I should have known it would be photography, but it took a while before I figured it out. I wanted to be an interior designer. I still do. But I studied graphic design and then, almost by mistake, got into photography. From the first day I picked up my camera, taking photos captured my heart and soul. After years of not doing very well at art at school, despite trying my best, I had finally found a way of expressing myself when I don’t have the words. Of showing people what I see and feel before I can even formulate it into a cohesive thought.
I grew up painfully shy. Acutely aware of myself and not feeling worthy. Wondering if I had anything of value to give to this world. It has taken my whole life to figure it out but I finally feel like I am onto something.
Photography is that thing that pushes me out of my comfort zone. It got me to move to a different city where I knew no one, had no plan and no support system. It gets me to talk to and meet people from all over the world that I otherwise wouldn’t. It enables me to go to places I never dreamed of being able to go. It’s helped me find friends, my tribe, here in Cape Town that feel like home. I have met people by chance in a brief moment and connected with them so much that I miss them once season ends and they are scattered all over the world on their journeys. But I count myself lucky to have something to miss and look forward to, that I know will be back next season. And I know that this is only the beginning, that there is so much more to come from it.
I feel extremely blessed to have found something that lights a fire within me. That gets me out of bed every single morning…even those mornings that are tougher than usual, especially right now. Something that lets me create something from nothing. I literally get to think of something, conceptualize it and make it happen. And these pictures are the proof of that. The ability to make something that was once only in my head come to life and be in awe at the final result in front of me. There’s nothing quite like that feeling.
Moreso now than ever I am loving going through old pictures that remind me of the good times. Friends. Family. Events. Memories. One picture can bring back all of the feelings and memories tied to a specific time and day. And this is exactly how I remember my life. My pictures are a visual diary of my life, all of the moments worth remembering, be it good or bad. And I count myself incredibly lucky to be able to give people physical reminders of a memory that will last forever.
Thank you to each and every person who has been a part of this journey so far and for giving me the means and ability to give this gift to the world.
I hope that each one of you reading this take this difficult time to truly figure out what your heart desires to do every day for the rest of your time here. Life is short and there is no point living it for someone else when you are the one who has to wake up every day and live it.
Be strong. Stay safe. Wash your hands xx
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