SamanthaDuckworth, a young and quirky photographer who already has a stunning body of work even in her short career thus far, describes herself as a short, glasses-wearing, Nikon-yielding 19-year-old who is a firm believer in hard work and passion. And at only 19, she approaches photography with sincerity far beyond her years. Lee Folkard Photography got more insight into this youngster ahead of her photo session with the beautiful young ladies she will be shooting.
Lee Folkard Photography: What was your inspiration to begin photography and how did you start off in the business?
Samantha: I was always creative growing up; making things, painting things, drawing things. When I was 14, my dad came home with a Nikon camera that he needed for his business and I naturally gravitated towards it. Soon, I was playing around with it every day after school experimenting. I fell in love with photography and began taking the camera with me everywhere I went. I had claimed the camera as my own! I started capturing good shots and people began asking me to photograph events for them. It was a great feeling to be paid to do something I love and am engrossed in. My business started off in the Pietermaritzburg area, but has moved to Durban since last year. I am now growing in Durban more and more each day. I started my blog in 2010 and am now nearing 50 000 views. About 3 months ago, I also started my Facebook page in a move to expand my business. I shot my first wedding when I was 17 and have now gone on to do work for Crowded House, Tiger Tiger PMB, The Witness Newspaper, Origin DBN and Red Bull. I am always also shooting my own freelance gigs like weddings, parties and model portfolio shoots. My photography has taken me to places I never would have been, which have been the most amazing places. I have put my all into my business and I will continue to do so because I am never satisfied. There is never a perfect shot and I am always pushing for something more.
LFP: How did you become involved in Project Scouted and what motivated you to be a part of it?
Samantha: I had liked Lee's Facebook page a few years back, and last year when the 2013 project, Project Trinity, started, I saw that he was looking for an upcoming female photographer. I submitted my work, was interviewed by Lee, and then chosen. Through Project Trinity, I met awesome people from Durban who I didn’t know and I learnt a lot about how my work could improve in the fashion and portrait areas. I was motivated to be involved in Project Scouted by my experience last year. And I love Lee's Projects! They're always interesting and last year was a pleasure to be involved. I am thrilled to be a photographer and also a judge this year.
LFP: If you could have a career like a particular photographer, who's would it be and why?
Samantha: Ken Oosterbroek, a member of the Bang Bang Club. I would like my career to steer towards photojournalism. I feel it is where my talents will best be used. His work was incredible. Tragically, he died after being shot by peacekeepers in the Thokoza Township on 18 April, only days before the 1994 elections in South Africa.
LFP: How do you photograph people to bring out their best?
Samantha: It's simple – become invisible. I sink into the background and photograph human interaction.
LFP: If there was a movie produced about your life, who would play you and why?
Samantha: Eish, I have no idea! People have told me I look like Kristen Stewart and Dakota Fanning. But I think I'd go with Dakota.
With Samantha’s simple but effective ethos when it comes to photographing people – letting her camera be a witness to who the people are that she is shooting – her pics will definitely be worth the wait in the weeks to come of Project Scouted.