Born in Johannesburg South Africa, but now based in Cape Town, Stephanie Blomkamp creates beautiful, surreal images that are striking and cinematic yet elegant and feminine. She is the founder of Oath, a magazine celebrating photographers and championing emerging voices from Africa and she also spends her time mentoring other photographers.
Stephanie is a firm believer that film photography shows a dedication to the craft that you don’t get with digital. Most of her work is shot on her beloved Hasselblad 503CXI which was once sadly stolen from her, leaving her heartbroken. The story does have a happy ending however as it miraculously made its way back into her life.
She told Hasselblad about the day she discovered her house and been broken into and how shocked she was when a friend called her up, describing a medium format camera she had found on sale at a vintage camera deal in Cape Town which was indeed hers.
Clearly a creative force to be reckoned with, Stephanie has tips on how to get past self-doubt, how to stand out and how to kickstart a career in photography. Her work has appeared in some of the biggest publications in the world including Vogue, Forbes and Business of Fashion and now she has been selected as a Hasselblad Heroine 2022.
We caught up with this inspiring photographer to talk about her journey of success and where her love of photography stems from.
How old were you when you first took up photography?
I was 14. I took my father's camera out and was hooked ever since.
Who or what inspired you to do so?
I have always been attracted to visual things. It all began when I got my hands on the tools to create my own images.
Do you have a favorite photo or project you've worked on?
Yes, I am the publisher of a photography magazine here in South Africa called Oath. It’s a platform that champions photographers from across Africa. What’s coming out visually from this side of the world is very exciting. I see my purpose in life clearly, to celebrate the art of photography. Whether it’s making my own images or singing the praises of other photographers’ work, my compass always points towards photography.
If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?
All roads will eventually lead to where you need to be, no matter how off-track they feel at the moment. Go on the journey. I’ve learned that the creative process is a roller coaster, with intense high and low moments – so I brace myself for both and enjoy the ride.
What does it mean to you on being chosen as a Hasselblad Heroine?
It is an honor to be selected as a Hasselblad Heroine. It’s great to be among my fellow Hasselblad Heroines this year and I’m proud to be part of an initiative that supports female photographers. I have long admired the brand and have consistently used my Hasselblad 503CXi camera for over a decade. The quality of it is remarkable. What I love most about mine are the technical elements of the film camera. The mechanism that makes the clicks, when it sounds, I feel real joy. Sometimes it’s the sound of success and I just know I got a great shot.
What has been your biggest obstacle in getting to where you are?
Self-doubt. Something that everyone struggles with, but I think it’s acute in most creatives.