Ed Suter is a South African photographer who specialises in capturing the vibrant streets of our cities – all the boldness and colour of urban Africa at it’s best. He was first inspired to become a street photographer when returning to his home country after an extended overseas stay in London and New York.
“I was really struck by the colour, vibrancy and energy of our streets and I wanted to capture that,” he says. “I respond to a youthful confidence that I find here, SA feels like a country in flux…”
In his photography, Ed tries to capture the energy of South Africa and he prefers imagery that is a slightly exaggerated version of reality: more colour, brightness and energy.
Ed was inspired to create his street style book ‘Sharp Sharp’ because he wanted to create a collection of images that celebrated the energy of South Africa’s downtown streets and the people who walked them.
“I had seen enough books celebrating the natural beauty of South Africa and a sort of postcard-perfect version of the country, but nothing like this,” he says.“Sharp Sharp perfectly brought together my interests in fashion, graphics, street art and fabrics.”
When taking photos of people on the street for his book Sharp Sharp, he finds people were generally happy to pose for him and excited to be part of it.
“I took the time to explain what I was doing and that I wanted to include them in my book because I loved their style. I guess flattery will get you anywhere.”
His book has proved a popular example of SA street style and Ed has since been invited to exhibit “Sharp Sharp” in Paris and give a talk on his work there.
Making a passion a career
Ed has been taking photos all his life, but only studied photography formally when he was in his early 30’s, when he attended The London College of Printing.
His favourite subject matter is people and his ideal photography environment is when the colours are bright, the fabrics bold, the characters quirky and the light is ‘just right’.
During his career, Ed has collaborated with Mr Price, he’s exhibited at large industry events like Design Indaba and he now has a stall at new popular design hub Watershed at The V&A Waterfront.
According to Ed, the greatest challenges of being a photographer is staying true to what you want to do and finding work that excites you. He believes that persistence is key to becoming successful in the local creative industry.
“As a photographer, it’s important to keep doing what you love and feel like you have a unique style of work that you bring to the market. Although it’s difficult, it’s very important to settle on what is your voice or your vision. Once you’re confident and consistent in your style, the rest will follow,” says Ed.
“Ultimately, big brands have approached me because the style of my work is unique and consistent”
Ed currently works for himself for a variety of clients and has been doing a lot of work for a film company recently.
“Every day involves me taking a lot of photographs and staying on the look out for the next idea that I want to shoot. I make a lot of lists and try to stay on top of a lot of projects at once.”
When it comes to camera equipment, Ed likes to use a Nikon 610 and he still uses a Mamiya 7 film camera. When he’s not snapping pics, Ed spends as much time as he can with his two daughters.
Take a look at street photographer Ed Suter’s website for more inspiration: http://edsuter.com/
All images in this post were sourced from Ed Suter’s website.