About the Photographer - Graham Abbott

Graham Abbott Photography

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Hi There! Well let me tell you where it all started ...I am dyslexic and was not really the greatest student so I enjoyed documenting life around me with a camera instead. My first SLR was a Canon FT QL with a 50 mm lens I got from my cousin Tym who had studied Photography in Poland and was my first inspiration.

Every School Holiday I did a hike somewhere exciting in and around South Africa and would create a slide show documentary of each one from start to finish, then I would have a get together with a slide show for those that went on the hike with me. It wend down so well that I started selling photos and enjoyed the acclaim I got witch motivated me to do better and buy more lenses.

I then started a camera club at school and built my first B-W darkroom under the stage, taught myself how to develop and print black and white prints and have my first exhibition. It was a great way to impress girls and get then into the dark room. By the time I did my national service I was a dedicated follower of the Cartier Bresson "Decisive Moment" School of taught. After school I did my two years as a Leading Seaman in the Marines where I managed to sneak a small Pentax MX around with me and capture some amazing documentary photos that would have got me into serious trouble had I been found out. I then new I wanted to be a documentary photographer.

I Studied Photography at the Port Elizabeth Technicon under Ian Diffourd for 2 years but got bored and itchie feet and decided to hitch hiked across Europe. I had by then bought a Leica M2 with a 35mm f2 lens witch became an extension of my eye. I traveled for 8 months and shot over 60 roles bulk lauded Kodak Tri-X film, rated from 200 to 6400 ASA.

After traveling trough Israel, Grease, Turkey, Italy, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, France and Holland and ending up running with the bulls in Pamplona Spain where i got robbed of my camera and all my undeveloped film! I was devastated and headed for London to find s job to buy another Leica. I worked illegally for 2 years saving up for 35mm and medium format equipment, tripod and flash gear. I then came back and tried working as as a Freelance photojournalist but was not making much money so i ended up going to work for a newspaper in Windhoek as a photojournalist but i was not any good at writing stories.

I came back to Cape Town and realized I needed to learn more about Advertising and Fashion photography so i started working for John Wilke who i had studied with as his assistant and also assisted European photographers shooting in Cape Town learning all there tricks.

After a few years I decided get my own studio behind a strip club in downtown Cape Towns with a good friend Tym Hopwood.
After a year or so I move on to open my own studio in Gardens that i lived in for a while. I built up a substantial amount of photographic equipment so I started a business called Studio One. It was the first Photographic Equipment rental business in Cape Town and I had the rental studio to go with it as well. Over the years the business grew bigger and bigger and I decided to Go Big and built a massive 650 square meter Loft Studio space in Bree street with two large infinity curves and a daylight studio on the roof of the building with amazing views of the City and Table Mountain.

For the next 4 years business was going well but I ended up not having any time for myself to photograph and found running a business was very stressful and took up all my time.
Digital photography was progressing so fast and all my analog equipment started becoming obsolete so i decided to not keep investing in new equipment and having to end up working for my own company but to sell the business on.

I then opened up a One Production with two friends Mark Thrasher and Albert Arcona as partners. We created our own company with our skills combined as graphic designer, web designer, photographer, cameraman, editor and strategist we had our own advertising agency. It became a great business going for 3 years with a large client base with the government being our largest client but then along came the dreaded BEE laws and it was eventually to be the nail in our coffin. When we lost our government client our overheads became more than our profits so we decided to go our separate ways.

Feeling a bit lost armed with my client base I decided to start Studio One Productions with two new BEE partners but it just ended up costing me a lot of time and money and I got taken for a complete ride...

With all my time spent working on projects together with partners trying to create a big business and not spending any time on myself and my photography i decided to give it all up and go it on my own again without the overheads of studios and staff its has taken a major wait of my shoulders .

So this is where i find myself today, I have realized you can not buy more time on earth so I am going to enjoy every day doing the photography I want to do and its going to be a GREAT ADVENTURE to rediscover the joy of taking creative photos and pushing myself to learn new creative skills and create images that I have always wanted to make but never had the time! Every day is a new adventure and I'm the Client, Art director and photographer and owner of my own work.

What could be better than to push yourself to produce images that make you feel you have put in a Good days work but all the time you just having FUN! "I'm a VERY LUCKY MAN"

To give thanks to the business that has brought me so much pleasure I am teaching the street kids at www.MyLife.co.za how to become photographers and generate their own income and hopefully have them become the next generation of to photographers out there capturing the amazing changes our world is going trough.

Client List: 
Shell, Nike Denmark, Sony Dubai, Petro Sa, Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, Oprah, British America tobacco, Red Bull, Sky Television London, Volkswagen, Motorola Singapore, Wella Hair Germany, Virgin Airlines London, Diamond Bank Nigeria, Polo Clothing, GQ Magazine London, Bond Cigarette's Russia, Ribena Kenya, YKE Sun beds Germany, Yamaha Electronics Germany, Lufthansa Germany,