Local photographer in finals of prestige award

2018-11-28 06:03
The Joe Slovo resident walked to the edge of the shack with his daughter in his arms while a police officer attempted to communicate.                 Photo:THEODORE JEPHTA

The Joe Slovo resident walked to the edge of the shack with his daughter in his arms while a police officer attempted to communicate. Photo:THEODORE JEPHTA

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PORT Elizabeth based Media24 photographer, Theodore Jephta, has recently won the award for the best regional photographer in this year’s Vodacom Journalist of the Year Awards held in Port Elizabeth.

Jephta, hailing from Komani (formerly known as Queenstown), was the winning entrant in the photography category with his photographs of the daily battle grounds owing to the lack of security and housing in South Africa.

His winning photographs depict the shocking moments when a father flung his baby daughter from the roof of his illegal shack in the hope of stalling a forced eviction. Almost doll-like, the one-year-old baby lands safely in the arms of an anxious policeman cushioning her fall.

Jephta received the award as overall winner and now stands a chance of being crowned best national photographer of the year. The final award ceremony will be taking place tomorrow evening in Midrand, Gauteng.

“This is my first time receiving an award of such magnitude and I never imagined that I would stand among all the great photographers I have come to know,” he said.

Unlike many photographers who showed an interest in photography at a young age, Jeptha only developed a passion after completing school.

“I never really knew what I wanted to do after school and decided to do photography. But even back then, I had an eye for detail.”

Jephta completed his schooling at Hangklip High School in Queenstown and graduated with a photography qualification at Central University of Technology in Bloemfontein.

Jephta’s inspiration in his photography comes from a desire to explore his own imagination.

He landed his first big break in his photography career as a freelance photographer for The Rep newspaper in Komani.

In 2000 he bought his first digital camera and captured everything he set his gaze on.

“I very soon became selective in what I photographed and I think that has certainly played a part in me getting the right picture. I remember thinking how far I will go in photography and just look how far it has come. With digital it’s become a lot easier,” he added.

Jephta, who is a former photographer of Die Burger (Oos-Kaap), now works for Die Son newspaper. He is well-known for his crime photography. He says he always aims at capturing the emotion that goes with photographing crime scenes.

“When I photograph a body at a crime scene, I try not to look in depth. It does take a toll on me at times. I try to capture the surroundings as well. I think that emotion is what makes photography so spectacular.”

Jephta’s focus is on capturing the uniqueness of each individual, and to capture the very essence through beautiful imagery.

“I try to create the images I have in my mind. Photography has become such a huge part of my character and I won’t trade it for anything else.”

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