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Featured: Grant Payne

This week we are featuring the work of Grant Payne (@grantjohnbrettpayneisback). We are especially looking forward to his upcoming project done just after COVID lockdown, where he travelled over 20000 kilometres around South Africa documenting what he saw. Look out for more of the project this summer.

Grant Payne
Grant Payne

“In 2010, Durban was thriving thanks to the World Cup, and I was constantly taking pictures in the city living out my street photography fantasies. I started to bring my camera to the parties I was going to, which eventually led to me getting “paid” to go to festivals and gigs with bands and artists. As a junior designer at my first position, I was exposed to a lot of technical studio photography work because they had an in-house studio. There, Dean Elliot and I connected, and I learnt a lot from him. From the moment I saw my first digital back connected to an old Hasselblad I was hooked. I eventually quit my job and worked for Dean and other photographers in a short internship at Pure studios. Eventually I started to get more of my own work and carved a path for myself in Cape Town. It’s been 11 years and I love how with photography as my job, every day can be an experiment.

My personal work these days has changed, I don’t find myself constantly looking for those same moments I used to. I guess I like thinking more than seeing. I love getting in a car and waiting for scenes that fit my thoughts. I now prefer to shoot inanimate objects that I can have more control over. My work has gotten deeper as I try to only shoot with intention – I’m trying to tell my story through my images now, not someone else’s. I see the world a bit differently now, I find myself looking towards the controllable rather than the uncontrollable.

Grant Payne
Grant Payne

I use a combination of vintage Minolta prime lenses for shooting digital medium format with the FUJIFILM GFX. I shoot practically all of my commercial work with a Fujinon GF 80mm and 50mm.

I’m inspired by the work of Alex Wallbaum, Bruce Gilden, Pieter Hugo, Roger Ballen, Dean Elliot, Gerhardt Coetzee, Ulrich Knoblauch and Matt McCormick – although a painter his work is exactly how I want my photographs to feel.”

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