Life as seen through a lens

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TO NDR Life1

TANIA Kühl, a Pietermaritzburg photographer whose work is all about capturing life, wraps up her exhibition, Life in Pictures, in Durban this week.

From isolated landscapes and small towns in South Africa to wildlife and found objects, her subject matter varies, but all capture life, as Kühl explains: “I don’t have a particular theme or subject matter, I just look at what’s around me and snap away

“There is a large variety of subject matter in my work, but I am fascinated by isolation and nostalgia so a lot of my landscapes are quite barren and the objects are old and dilapidated.”

Life in Pictures is running at The Factory Café in Durban and ends on Thursday.

Kühl has a Fine Art qualification, but found that she had to swap her paintbrush for a camera when she first fell in love with photography.

“I first fell in love with photography when I was 16 and my parents gave me a simple point-and-click camera for my birthday. I spent hours taking photos of my friends and soon became the ‘group photo- grapher’. During my high school career photo-graphy wasn’t included in our art curriculum and I discovered the joys of painting instead.

“I decided to study fine art and focused on painting throughout my ’varsity career.

“Photography was always on the sidelines, but towards the end I realised photography was my calling.

“I think it was a combi- nation of getting a decent camera, doing a photography course with Stephen Pryke and researching photographers such as Roger Ballen and David Goldblatt for my honours thesis that flipped the switch,” she explained.

“I love the immediacy of it and how you can capture an important moment with the touch of a button. As an artist, photography is my favourite medium because I can act on impulse and express myself visually without too much planning. It allows me to create a sort of narrative about my life that can’t lie. For me, photography tells the truth – if you weren’t there, you couldn’t photograph it,” Kühl said.

A lot of her subject matter focuses on her travels through South Africa.

“Capturing the little things that give our country personality and history. The rusty milk can, the isolated donkey, the lone tree. These objects, animals and land- scapes all share a sense of nostalgia, desolation and history.”

• You can get a glimpse of life through Kühl’s observations in Life in Pictures. For more info call 072 229 6530.

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