20 Questions with Penny Robartes

Gerry van der Walt All Authors, Gerry Leave a Comment

You’ve seen her blog posts and her posts on the Wild Eye Facebook page.

Penny is the newest addition to the Wild Eye team and now, as with Mark yesterday, we have asked Penny to answer 20 questions so that you can learn what makes her tick.

Penny Robartes

Here goes with Penny’s answers to the our 20 questions.

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1. Describe yourself in 3 words

Curious, adventurous, unique – oh, hi Claire Robartes!

2. Describe the moment when you realized – I love photography

Wow tough question! There have been countless moments throughout my life where this ‘moment’ has cropped up.

So… to choose one… I was in Tokai Forest in Cape Town by myself, walking through the mist-dense trees in the morning with my camera always poised. The silence of the forest, the towering trees, the thick mist that just surrounded me made me feel so in awe and in peace. The photos I took reflected all that I was feeling of that morning, and it was just another reminder of how much I love photography and the power of it.

3. Describe your personal photographic style

This is a tricky one. This year has been an adventure for me so far, especially in this category! Having studied photography where we could choose our projects and flow from there, wildlife photography has been quite a challenge for me as im having to adapt to a new genre and explore my photographic style through it, instead of trying to force my previous one onto it. As I am still learning and being influenced by people, situations, and nature, I am most definitely still exploring what my photographic style is. But what I have noticed and love from when I studied is that I do have a fine-art, ethereal quality that sinks in to my images. Again, it depends on what subjects I capture and how I feel about them and the situation at that time. I think I am a ‘feel’ person, so a lot of the time my feelings toward the specific situation, environment and subject will determine my photographic style. Rambling done!

4. What animal do you find the most difficult to photograph? Why?

So far I have found animals that are ‘ordinary’ or ‘common’, such as zebra, wildebeest etc are the hardest to photograph so far. From what I have observed, many people will love an image of a leopard, lion, and other predators, even if it isn’t that great a photograph or presentation of the animal. Because of what animal it is, people seem to sway more to it just purely on that fact. Therefore, to take an image of a ‘ordinary’ animal is harder, as to portray it in an interesting and different manner to the public in order from them to admire it as they do predator images seems to be a great task.

5. Photographically speaking, what motivates you?

Definitely my love and passion for the wild. I have always felt this from when I was young, and it was nurtured and fed through the common passions my parents and family felt. It is pretty fantastic having parents who also loved the wild and wanted to explore it at every possible opportunity. To represent and share this love through photography is a gift and opportunity that I much appreciate.

6. What doesn’t?

Taking photographs for the sake of taking photographs. This is when I would rather just leave my camera alone as I know that all the images that will come out will be close to disaster! Moments, situations, events etc that I have no desire and passion to photograph pretty much deflates my love for photography if I have to take images. It changes photography for me from being a passion-filled medium and exploration, to a task that I want over as soon as possible.

Sorry for being extreme, but I find it incredibly hard to portray a subject in a great way when I feel no passion or drive for it.

7. Share your single best photographic moment ever

I honestly don’t feel that this has happened yet. A few of my photographic projects have left me extremely happy and satisfied. But as I have still so much to learn, explore and experience, I truly hope that I have not already experienced my single best photographic moment ever.

8. Do you set photographic goals for yourself?

I do. Well, I at least try. Seems like most of the time this year has been me just feeling happy and overwhelmed that ‘trigger-happy’ seems pretty close to defining my goals at the moment. But I am trying to keep this under control in order to gain more out of the places that I have/will be visiting. With goals and structural ideas, I feel like I am able to focus and reap more than if I didn’t have goals. I find it hard to grow and learn if I don’t set platforms for me to reach and overcome.

9. If you had to cast Nikon and Canon has characters in a movie, who would play them?

Oh tough one… whose toes am I going to step on this time?

10. Describe digital noise as you would to an 8 year old

You know Dot-to-Dot? Now image a whole picture, not just the outline, being dot-to-dot. Depending on how many dots you have to join, your picture will either look fine, or just a whole bunch of dots that make the image hard to see.

11. What is your favourite wildlife photography coffee table book?

At the moment it’s Africa, based on the series Africa that is narrated by Sir David Attenborough.

12. If you could choose anywhere outside of Africa to travel to – where would you go and why?

Iceland! And many other places that would just take so much time to write out and keep your attention to J. It just is such a wild and beautiful place. From its ruins, to snow-capped hills and vast lakes…yes please J

13. Tell us something that we would not be able to tell about you by looking through your Facebook page

That I will own a blue pitbull, I would love to live by the coast in the Transkei, and that I’m addicted to chai tea, popcorn and peanut butter.

14. Share 5 of your hobbies / interests outside of photography

I love going go hikes/walks, reading, swimming, relearning guitar, and going out into the wilderness whenever I can.

15. Name four famous people – dead or alive – you would like to take on a photo safari. And why?

  • Ansel Adams: His landscape photography is inspirational. He pretty much got me falling in love with nature and its landscapes. His outlook about photography and its limitations are realistic. I feel like I would learn more than I can and ever will comprehend.
  • Henri Cartier-Bresson: I love his approach to photography as capturing the moments that happen in life. The spontaneity and joy of what is around him. What fun it would be to go on a photo safari with him. Great way to explore and break ‘photographic boundaries’ and ‘perceptions’ that might limit or be limiting me.
  • Paul Nicklen: His passion for his subjects just shrine through his photography. His photography and subject portrayal is incredible and I just can’t help but be absorbed by his images. His feelings about his subjects are honest and refreshing. He isn’t out to photograph for commercial gain, but because he loves the animals and finds them inspiring. He gets up close and personal to his subjects and produces unique compositions and portrayals. Watch his talk on TED.com and you will see why I would love to go on a photo safari with him!
  • Nick Brandt: Uh my heart just melts at his images. They are so powerful and filled with emotion. And wouldn’t I just love to talk photographs like him… On a photo safari with him, I would stand right behind him in order to capture exactly what he does.
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16. If we hit play on your iPod right now, what song would play?

Aya from Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

17.  What is your favourite restaurant?

At the moment it’s So Yum in Hyde Park.

18.  What is the last book that you read?

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

19.  Share your favourite motivational quote.

“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment.” – Eckhart Tolle

20.  Without using Google, what do you think this swahili phrase means? “Gari langu linaloangma limejaa na mikunga”

Take Penny on all photographic trips that Wild Eye runs.

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Join Penny on one of these Wild Eye Photo Safaris:

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Check our Penny’s website and social media profiles here:

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Make sure to check back tomorrow when you can learn more about Morkel Erasmus as he answers these 20 questions!

Until next time.

Gerry van der Walt

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Gerry’s Links:

Comments 0

  1. Pingback: 20 Questions with Morkel Erasmus - Wild Eye Photography

  2. Chad Cocking

    A good photographer with even better taste in music (and possibly embarrassing for a guy to say this, but also in books!)…i thought girls like you only existed in fairytales! 😉

    Keep up the good work Penny!

  3. Pingback: 20 Questions with Andrew Aveley - Wild Eye Photography

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