Inside this issue
My name is Carl Smorenburg and I am a slightly obsessed photographer based in Hampshire, UK. Photography is not just a job for me; it is a way of life. Wherever I go, I unconsciously observe the light and frame photos in my mind. Sharing my own photographic work and my knowledge of photography with others is something I truly enjoy.
In 2012 I paused by my local river and everything changed. I’ve moved away from what many expect photographs to be: my images deconstruct the literal and reimagine the subjective, reflecting the curiosity that water has inspired in my practice. Water has been my conduit: it has sharpened my vision, given me permission to experiment and continues to introduce me to new ways of seeing.
Carl has always loved being outside and being active, and this doubtless helped him immeasurably after falling in love with the Drakensberg Mountains and spending over a decade hiking and photographing there. We talk about South Africa’s diverse landscape and the drama that both it and the weather it offers the well prepared. Carl is now based in and exploring the UK, so we touch on how he is adjusting to photographing a very different landscape.
Would you like to start by telling readers a little about yourself – where you grew up, what your early interests were, and what that you went on to do?
I grew up during the 70’s on the east coast of South Africa - near Durban, in a town called Pinetown. My father was an executive at a shipping company, and my mother did admin for a construction company. I have an older sister and younger brother, both who still live in South Africa.
We were lucky enough to live next to a large nature reserve; this was where all the action happened. Building forts and fighting the Afrikaners with clay balls. Growing up then was mostly about having an adventure and going where no man had gone before (or so we thought). We used to steal Boerewors (a traditional South African sausage) from our freezer and have a braai (BBQ) at our fort.
My brother and I joined the Cub Scouts when we were very young, and this is where my love for the outdoors really caught on. Getting badges for this and that, orienteering and going on long hikes in the Kloof Gorge were all such fun.