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Johan Wilke International Photographer – a journey in magical moments

Johan Wilke

Johan has come far from a little boy, taking photographs with old film rolls and sell by date chemicals on his Grandmother’s farm . His passion for beauty is palpable and his imagination is limitless and colorful. After his training as photographer and graphic designer in Port Elizabeth, he left the country with just a backpack and a camera to cross the world in suspense for that one magic moment. Johan has been running a successful studio foe 22 years shooting locally and internationally,
Through his extensive experience, he has become a favourite amongst celebrities because of his ability to capture the best in them.

Some Feedback from celebrities.
Margaret Gardiner
“Johan knows exactly what he wants, and yet he has the flexibility to capture the spontaneous moment. I don’t have to worry about how I’ll look. Sometimes a shoot will feel wonderful and you look at the pics and go – wow – how did that happen – and not in a good way. With Johan – he always captures the magic moment. “

Minki van der Westhuizen:
I have been working with Johan for eight years in my career and with him I am always sure of the perfect cover. He has honestly taken my best covers worldwide! He has a natural talent and I always feel relaxed and confident with him behind the camera. I have always experienced time with him as a privilege.

Johan believes that any good photo should touch the emotions of the viewer – positive or negative. Sometimes his work is fairytale beauty and then he moves to subjects that make you uncomfortable. Especially his black and white documentary work as awarded photographer made him a legend amongst 20th century photographers.

Johan managed to reach the soul of each of his subjects. Moving himself into the heart and convictions of each individual without any prejudice or influence by himself. His work is honest without any hidden agenda’s to evoke emotions. His exhibition on the Indians people Varanasi is unforgettable. A Random hand that touches the turbid waters of the Varanasi is one of the most famous photos ever!

Johan challenges subjects that lie outside of our comfort zones. His exhibition of tattoo’s and body piercing shows the people behind these habits. You see the true person and not his passion of marking his or her body. The result is – believe it or not – absolute beauty!

Johan’s technique is what the modern technology would call – beyond reasonable ability. His work leads to perfect balance, contrast, suspense, harmony and emotional depth – such as you will never experience. In short – Johan does life – as we don’t know it and would like to.

Besides Johan’s conceptualizing capability of new and fresh ideas, he is the master of light. He believes that good lighting is seventy percent of the value of a good photograph – not only technical – but emotional as well.

Johan found his inspiration outside the boundaries of our understanding. From a young boy he had a passion for the paintings of the Old Masters because of their understanding of the use and benefits of correct light. He is a great fan of the belated Henri Cartier-Bresson, the famous French photographer who understood this as well as having one second to capture the perfect photo.

Fashion & Beauty:
In fashion – Johan is an icon. He has the ability to see beyond the garment s and to create the perfect concept to confirm the look. He is an award winning fashion photographer and his concepts are always – without exception – totally out of the box – actually not near the box!

Three much awaited photography books have seen the light recently. I am, you are, Latent Moments, and Mnemonic are collector’s items.
Recently Johan published a book with the renowned chef, Marlene van der Westhuizen, Abundance, a delectable book on scrumptious food and amazing photography – including the dishes as well as a walk around Cape Town’s most memorable areas.