11 Photographers From Namibia You Should Know

Male lion bathed in sunset light
Male lion bathed in sunset light | © Johan Jooste
Gill Lange

The unique and magical landscape of Namibia is well known for its fabulous photographic opportunities. Here are some of the country’s best photographers, who draw inspiration from the culture and natural beauty of their homeland.

Kyle Weeks

Although he now balances his time between Cape Town and Amsterdam, much of Namibian-born Kyle Week’s photography is inspired by the land of his birth. His unique approach to photography challenges the traditional relationship between subjects and documentary image-makers, as he easily overturns aesthetic stereotypes to produce images with a uniquely creative edge.

He already has two photographic series under his belt: The Palm Wine Collectors presents the Makalani palm harvesters of northern Namibia’s Kunene Region, offering a subversive alternative to voyeuristic documentary stylings, while The Ovahimba Youth Self-Portraits offer a visual commentary on the longstanding colonial photographic methods used to depict Africans. Unorthodox and flying in the face of the mainstream, Week’s images are unapologetic yet thought-provoking.

Image from the Palm Wine Collectors series

Petri Ackermann

Avid wildlife photographer Petri Ackernmann takes his love of nature and the country of his birth to new levels as he captures amazing images of wildlife and landscapes throughout southern Africa. His work has featured in variety of wildlife publications such as Africa Geographic and is well regarded both nationally and internationally.

AM Photography

Headed up by Paavo Shooya, this Namibia-based photography agency is still relatively young, yet nevertheless has entered the local Namibia market with a bang. Their creative and dynamic services cover a broad range of fields, from studio, outdoor, and fashion to corporate events, fine arts, and conceptual photography. Portrait images are a particular strength, while their fine-art images tackle societal issues such as racism, gender equality, and albinism.

A brother’s tears of joy for his sister on her wedding day

Maja Carstens Dream Photography

Travel and outdoor enthusiast Maja Carstens began her photographic career at an early age and hasn’t looked back since. Born and raised in Windhoek, she is now based in Swakopmund and covers a broad variety of genres ranging from people to event photography and virtual tours. Her love of travel has led her to various locations and she is always ready to try something new, constantly striving to capture unique images and hone her photographic skills. The image below was captured on impulse near a relative’s farm in Namibia as a donkey cart traveled into the sunset.

Sunset in Namibia

Adam Smaruj

Adam Smaruj is a landscape and events photographer based in Namibia, where he has lived for many years with his family. His photographic subject matter covers a broad range of genres, spanning epic shots of Namibia’s wild animals to landscapes and lifestyle imagery. Adam is also an accomplished parkour and free runner who uses his training to learn to move in unusual and different ways, and he says that this helps to change his perception of life as a whole. The photograph below was taken in Swakopmund, catching a magical moment of sunshine and sand.

Throwing sand to the sun

Johan Jooste

Johan Jooste’s photographic career began in the 1980s when he first joined his local camera club in Windhoek. Less than a decade later he achieved his associateship colours from the Photographic Society of Southern Africa, and says that since the advent of digital photography his career has grown tremendously.

Today he is a Windhoek-based professional freelance photographer covering a wide variety of genres and also conducts his own photographic workshops. His work has appeared in numerous magazines, adverts and billboards in Namibia. The rock arch in the image below is is one of the most photographed sites in Namibia and makes use of a series of shots combined in a panorama to show the wide view.

Panoramic image of the rock arch at Spitzkoppe

Vilho Nuyoma

Documentary-maker Vilho Nuyoma uses photography and cinematography to connect and communicate with others, by creating awareness and encouraging tolerance, empathy, and unity. He credits underground music as his main source of inspiration and says that its sincere attitude pushes him to stay in the moment, while being more socially conscious and fighting for a voice for oppressed minorities.

He uses his socially driven artwork as his mouthpiece to the world as he attempts to break down societal barriers that create inequality and division.

Paul Van Schalkwyk

The late Paul Van Schalkwyk spent a large portion of his life in a relentless quest to search for beauty from a heavenly perspective on earth. He was one of Namibia’s most acclaimed photographers, and specialized in aerial and landscape photography, often giving his images an out-of-this-world, unique, and abstract look.

His passion for images that tell stories and his infatuation with the landscape of Namibia combined to produced photographic masterpieces of the Etosha National Park, the Namib Desert, and the Skeleton Coast, to name but a few. Although Paul passed away in a plane accident in 2013, his photographs still grace exhibitions all over the world today.

Desert Storm

“The paradox is that I cannot observe and photograph without intruding. Without leaving my mark. It does not matter how careful I am. Even if I succeed to obliterate all evidence of my intrusion, the mere fact that I return with a photograph is proof of my intrusion. I have changed the scene’s status forever. I am taking away something and I am also giving something.” Paul van Schalkwyk, June 2012.

Brandberg, Namibia

Richard Fryer

Richard Fryer is a full-time wildlife photographer and wildlife consultant who has worked with organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Namibia Nature Fund (NNF). His intimate knowledge of the Namibian landscape lends a powerful authenticity to his wildlife and landscape image, which show an incredible sense of depth and detail. Aerial photography is another strength of Fryer’s and his amazing shots capture the majesty of the ancient Namibian landscape.

Shawn van Eeden, CreativeLAB

Rarely seen without his camera, Shawn van Eeden is a commercial and lifestyle photographer who began a career in design before revisiting his passion of photography. After 12 years in London he returned to Namibia, where he has since worked with popular and exciting brands on a variety of projects, some winning multiple international awards including Cannes, Loeries, Epic, OneEyeland, and Photographer of the Year for Advertising in 2017. Shawn says the he is not one to turn down a challenge, always looking for new and exciting opportunities. In his time off he travels around Namibia, armed with coffee, his tripod, and his camera.

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