My Story

I still remember the smell of glue and freshly printed images as I proudly put together my first ever Photography portfolio in December 2011. I used it to apply to The Vega School, an amazing university for creatives, based in Pretoria, South Africa. My place of birth and one of the many cities I grew up in.

I had no idea how to manually work a DSLR, and I could see my Grandad (lover of Wildlife Photography) “secretly” being a bit hesitant as he handed over his Canon EOS (or as I then knew it – “a really good, black digital camera”; also my answer when the dean who interviewed me asked what camera I used.)

For that portfolio I photographed a dancer, flying through mid air in a big open space (how I wish I knew more of shutter speed back then!) As well as one of my best friends with only half his face visible in light, and my gorgeous Mom, (Demi Moore look-a-like) also had to play model for a day. Our pictures varied from outdoorsy, lifestyle photos to sensual images taken of her back, accentuating every curve and muscle.

I didn’t know much about photography, only that I absolutely loved it. I wanted to know more, be more, and explore the art of capturing people and memories which would last myself and them a lifetime.

As someone who grew up with a Mother who always took pictures of everything – and still has every single photo neatly kept in albums all over her home, I couldn’t help but adore the idea of always being able to look back at memories. I would take her compact film camera and attempt a few ‘selfies’, either dressed up, with my baby sister, or just playing around with our pets (having made sure they were the most photographed cats and Cocker Spaniel in the world.) The best part of the entire process was my Mom’s expression when she received the images back after she gave the film in for development. The joy, and sometimes concern when she opened her lucky packet of pictures always made me happy, and giddy, and inspired me to try something new as soon as she inserted a new roll of Kodak film.

At the age of 10 she bought me my first little film camera! Such a thoughtful gift, and something I will forever cherish. I took it with me everywhere I went. To the mall, the park, and every school trip. She saw my love for photography grow and always “upgraded” my camera as the years passed by. Along with my gear, my dreams got bigger and better and never left my side.

The dean at Vega saw my excitement and genuine intrigue, and scored me a whopping 19 out of 20 along with a delightful acceptance letter! Best.day.ever.

But then life happend, and I ended up studying Social Work and Education (something I’ll forever love and be interested in) with the aim of one day specialising as a Child Therapist. Life happily happened again and I met Charl Beyleveld, my soulmate, best friend, husband, and biggest fan! We relocated to London in 2016, and after a month in this inspiring city I couldn’t hide my burning passion for photography, arts and all things beautiful and creative. I KNEW I had to start my journey. And Charl, so dear to my heart dreamt my dreams with me and encouraged me to explore that passion. Of course a little voice in my head filled me with doubt regarding the “already overcrowded photography industry” epidemic we witness all around us. So I made a decision that I would never conform, and to always follow my own path and strive to have my photographs represent passion, and genuine love for the act of Photography.

My first proper “really good, black digital camera”, a Nikon D800E, inspired me to be able to make use of it’s full potential! I then started a course in Advanced Photography which I loved so much, I happily finished it in six months. During those first few months of discovery, I learned that I had my own style, and actually, I felt pretty confident with that and happy with the way my worked looked.

I make it my mission to capture genuine, candid moments. I aim to have my work represent a natural and genuine love. I want my work to be art – something you can’t replicate or achieve by looking at other Photographer’s work on Pinterest, Shutterstock, etc. Following my own style, not only in taking the photographs, or post processing, but also in how I represent myself and my business. Just being myself and savouring beauty in the unexpected has already sent me the most amazing clients, who likewise found something in being organic and natural which they could associate with. I have such a soft spot for genuine people in this world of make-belief.

Overall I just have a soft spot and love for people, and that’s probably one of the best things about this industry! Constantly meeting new faces, and building friendships with kind, friendly souls. And that’s one of the reasons why I’m not just going to blog about my amazing clients and the happy moments I’m privileged enough to capture, but I’m going to share personal experiences too. The good, bad, crazy, tasty and amazing! Travel stories, recipes, lessons learned through life and love, and lastly, some friendly encouragement.

I do, however, still have so much to discover and I’m so happy to be able to share this journey with you.

Sending you peace and love,

Sherise x

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