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Feature: Chat With South African Photographer, Lawrence Manyapelo


As seen in Previdar

As seen in Previdar


Behind The Lens. 



By: Jesica Colbyn

Johannesburg, South Africa



Photography is an art that needs no translation or explanation; a form appreciated by those who live outside the box and are unafraid to ‘come out of the magician’s hat and stare at his eyes’. I won’t taint your imagination or incept any ideas…. Meet Lawrence Manyapelo, his work is a sight to behold.



I’d need a wand and a magic hat, perhaps a pack of cards too, to describe what you do. In a few words, tell us about yourself?


Being a multi-talented person as I am, I find myself doing pretty much everything. I doubt what I do can be easily described in a few words. I’m well known as a photographer but I’m a Multimedia Designer by profession, dealing with basic motion graphics, web content and still photography. However, my specialty is in interactive; all things web – from UX design, Graphic Web Design to information design. Multimedia Design is a perfect career for me because it allows all my abilities to be put into good use; I do not only do still photography but moving photography as well. What I do involves a lot of the Media Industry; I’ve worked with so many companies like SAB doing their adverts and so many publicity/ private shoots for celebrities etc.


Lawrence Manyapelo photographer and founder of Previdar

Lawrence Manyapelo photographer and founder of Previdar



Lawrence Manyapelo




Previdar Magazine, How did it come about?


I wanted to create a platform that will allow young artist, who aren’t given much attention in South Africa, to exhibit their work. I had myself as an instrument to do this and today it’s alive.



You’ve achieved what your peers are still dreaming of in such a short period of time. How do you manage to stay on top and reset yourself to be creative?


You can never be complacent in the media industry, whether you’re a content producer on in front of the camera executing the producer’s script. It’s dangerous, you have to keep learning and exposing yourself to new knowledge, new technologies – talent can only take you as far as it can but not as far as learning new things and how other people are doing them. I guess that’s my secret. I’m such a recluse as well, I spend enough time by myself – there’s something about silence that resets my creative drive. I wouldn’t say I’m at the top yet, maybe to a few who aren’t on my level, there are so many great Multimedia Designers in South Africa but particularly overseas whom I learn from. Telling myself that I’m not the best pushes me to be the best at all times.


As seen in Previdar

As seen in Previdar


As seen in Previdar

As seen in Previdar



What is your ultimate dream for the magazine?


Change and acceptance, I hope for this every time I release an issue and hopefully see Previdar move gracefully from the web to print. For now our focus is on growth. We want to establish strong relationships with designers, business personnel and build a strong team that will be able us to take on even bigger creative concepts that will shock the world and hopefully teach people to think broadly and to never limit their creative capacity.



How would you describe your photographic style?


Unpredictable, dynamic and artistic; my commercial photography is always seducing, whereas my artistic taste to photography is less seducing and more striking.



As seen in Previdar


As seen in Previdar

As seen in Previdar




Is there a lot of post-production involved in your work or you prefer an untouched, natural feel?


I get asked this a lot. Post-Production is a craft on its own. Photography died the day a digital camera was made – and since post production I don’t believe there’s such thing as photography. It’s only fantasies created on our computer screen, the simulacra – there’s no truth to photography anymore. I re-touch my photographs a lot – they look great as raw files but even better after post-production. I spend about 4 hours editing one photograph, just so I could get the right grading and everything right.



Whose work has had a profound influence or your photography style?


Mario Testino



As seen in Previdar

As seen in Previdar


As seen in Previdar

As seen in Previdar




Do you have anyone in particular whom you’d love to work with?


In South Africa there’s no one who blows me away. I would, however, like to work with Mario Testino.



What do you find most challenging about your work?


In terms of what I do and how I do it there are no challenges that I can point out. But when it comes to business I do realize that my work is getting more and more expensive relative to the demand for the brand. You lose more clients because they can’t afford you anymore but you attract a few who can pay double what all your previous clients could. However, this is a challenge because there are no guarantees that you’ll always have such clients at hand.



As seen in Previdar

As seen in Previdar


As seen in Previdar

As seen in Previdar



What can we expect from future projects that you’re working on?


My ultimate project is to change the culture of Visual Culture in South Africa, especially when it comes to music videos, photography and editorials. I’ll be doing this through introducing different aesthetics in South African Music video and photography. I surprise myself as much as I surprise my fans so I can’t really tell what exactly you can expect from me currently.



Please share with us anything you might want to add that I haven’t touched on.


Anyone who wants to know more about what I do may read “PREVIDAR IN LAWRENCE’S WORDS” by clicking here.

And follow me on Twitter: @Lawrencable


Photography by Lawrence Manyapelo; Portrait photography (I am Previdar) by Vanessa Louw

*Jesica is a 20 something from Johannesburg South Africa with a passion for fashion and a heart for style. Imagination is a space in which she creates, dreams, play and when lucky – live. Fashion is an integral part of who she is. A silent voice in expression.

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