Interview with South African Photographer Paul Ward
In today’s interview on Creativeoverflow we have Paul Ward with us. A 22 year old photographer based out of Cape Town, South Africa. Paul got his first camera at the age of 15 and haven’t looked back since. He runs his photographic blog – Diaryofward.com and documents the events of his life through it. He also really really likes peanut butter on toast and hates baby tomatoes. Want to find out more about Paul? Check out the interview below.
1. Welcome to Creativeoverflow Paul, can you take some time to tell us a bit about yourself and where you are from?
Hey, Thanks for having me. I AM PAUL WARD; a 22-year-old photographer based in Cape Town, South Africa. I’ve got a degree in Brand Communications specializing in Art Direction behind my name. I am happy when I feel inspired, but happiest when I am told I have inspired others. I am the founder of diaryofward.com, a photographic blog which documents the events of my life. When I grow-up I would like to be a famous advertising photographer, and shoot images that not only look “pretty”, but make people feel “funny” inside. I really really like peanut butter on toast, and hate baby tomatoes.
2. Have you been a creative person since your childhood or did you only discover your passion for photography later in life?
At the age of 15 I asked for a camera for Christmas, because I had chosen Art & Design as subjects in school, and a camera seemed like a good tool to have. I messed around in a lot of mediums in school from animation to pencil drawings, but photography always came up on top. Now I can’t imagine life without a camera.
3. You have some amazing shots in your portfolio, have you studied at all? If so where and what did you study?
I have never formally studied photography, I have read lots of books, and watch lots of videos on the internet, and taken a lot of photos in trial and error, but I feel like I’m still studying the medium, and hope that, that feeling never goes away.
4. Diary of Ward is one of your sites that you upload photos to on almost a daily basis. What gives you the motivation to run this aside from your regular portfolio?
It’s weird I started out taking mainly documentary kind of photographs at high school and loved it, then I started studying advertising, and got caught in the trap of only shooting formal shoots, which were usually just print ads from collage, or model friends portfolios. Then last year I dedicated my self to photography, then when I stopped drinking alcohol for a few months, I thought a camera would be a good replacement to keep me occupied, while I was surround by amazing intoxicated people. Very soon I realized the joy I once felt by documenting what is around me, and framing the world through your lens.
Then when I put a few photos online people really liked them, which was a strange yet rewarding feeling. I had also just finished a book by Malcom Gladwell called “Outliers”, which talks around a theory that it takes 10 000 hours of practice to master your craft, he shows how Bill Gates did it, and The Beatles, so I guess I thought I should probably start edging away at those hours. In short I guess I started doing it for fun, got re-motivated by people, and now I stay motivated because I think in 50 years looking back at these photographs, people might get some insight into what I feel is an interesting and exciting time for Cape Town.
5. If I ever ask someone about Paul Ward, they immediately ask, “Are you talking about the guy that never puts his camera down?” Do you enjoy being labeled as the guy that always has his camera with him?
I wouldn’t say I enjoy the label, or don’t enjoy it. Its really not important to me, I do it for my own reasons, and its very satisfying. Put it this way if I stopped feeling fulfilled by it, I would stop straight away. ( but also in school I was known as the guy with the camera, so its not new to me, at least now a few people say my name, and then follow with… that guy with the camera.)
Editor: I definitely think being labeled as the guy with the camera isn’t a bad slogan for a photographer.
6. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years from now? Still living in Cape Town?
While I am still young I do want to travel, and work abroad, learn from the master photographs around the world. But South Africa will always be home, and if I did stay away for awhile, I would bring back valued knowledge that would hopefully benefit the country, in some way or another. So in 10 years when its time to settle down I would like to be a world renowned photographer who works out of Cape Town, for all the big brands around the world.
7. If something ever happened and you lost the ability to continue shooting photographs, what would you do for a living?
My mom actually asked me this question the other day, I replied sarcastically what would you do? And got out of answering it. Guess that won’t work here. I value my background in advertising and branding, and if I lost my sight I would focus more on idea generation which is half the process of a good photograph any how.
A good friend of mine and mentor Andrew Putter, up until recently never used to take any photographs, yet his fine art medium is photography, he conceptualizes amazing projects and has the ability to bring them together by collaborating with others, so that would defiantly be a road to follow if I ever did loose my ability to shoot.
8. Which of your tools won’t you be caught dead without? (Camera, Laptop,Lenses etc)
Well a camera’s not much good with out a lens, so if we separating those two, it would probably be an Ipod touch. Then I could listen to music, take photos, record a video on 720p HD, wait am I stuck alone on an island? That’s what I was imagining…
Editor: Haha, I was actually referring to any tool, but sure if you were stuck on an island, a iPod touch could work!
9. Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions, any last words, shout outs or advice?
I think the best advice I could give to young creatives would be to just make stuff, put it out there, and see what happens, take any opportunities no matter how big or small and absolutely put your heart into it. I find the idea of a “BIG” break, is usually comprised of many and many little opportunities which all add up… and Believe in yourself, cause if you don’t why should anyone else.
CREATE & INSPIRE FOREVER AND EVER AHEM
Thank you Paul for joining us here on Creativeoverflow, we wish you the best of luck for 2011 and beyond.
If you would like to get hold of Paul, follow him through his two sites and on Facebook.