Featured iStock Exclusive Artists: PixelCatchers
It was 2004 when Henk Badenhorst heard about a website called iStock and started uploading his photos. Shortly thereafter, he was hired by iStock founder Bruce Livingstone as an iStock inspector, performing quality assurance checks on other artists’ images. For contributors then, “It was more about community,” he recalls. That community, then around fifty or so photographers around the world, met a few times a year to exchange pointers, understand current trends, and push the boundaries of stock during shooting workshops. These meetups were the start of iStockalypse, multi-day creative conferences throughout the year organized by iStock.
It was on his way to an iStockalypse event that Henk Badenhorst’s professional and personal lives took an unexpected turn. In line at Cape Town International Airport, he struck up a conversation with filmmaker Georgia Court. Georgia, on her way to shoot video for an NGO, happened to be on the same flight. Neither knew it would become a defining moment in their lives—or that they were meeting their future creative and life partner.
Building Off Each Other’s Strengths
Now, nearly a decade after the two first met, Georgia and Henk are based in Cape Town and are exclusive iStock contributors. Their business, PixelCatchers, began when the two made the decision to combine their creative talents and push each other to get their portfolio where they wanted it to be.
“Georgia, with her experience making documentaries, is more organized,” explains Henk. “I can create vast content in a short time,” mentioning when he worked on commercial projects, he was often called last minute to fix work that others botched.
The combination of Georgia’s more methodical approach and Henk’s propensity for speed makes creating vast amounts of quality, original content appear effortless.
“We work quite well together,” agrees Georgia. “We can be in the middle of nowhere with the worst lighting you can imagine and make it happen.” Avoiding long shoots is one strategy that works for them. “You don’t need a million shots of every single angle,” continues Georgia. “I don’t think that’s what stock is anymore. It’s about finding those little moments.”
Supporting Neighbors in Their Backyard
While Georgia and Henk have traveled all over the world—the two recently returned to South Africa from the recent iStockalypse in Buenos Aires—they see their business as an opportunity to give back to their local community, too.
“A lot of photographers feel like they have to go somewhere else to shoot,” Georgia observes. “But all the elements you need are right in your backyard.”
Shooting across their country, Georgia and Henk make a point not to avoid places, noting, as an example, a shoot they did of a businessman living in one of the country’s largest townships where, even decades after apartheid, lingering poverty is part of the community’s fabric. “If he has to go home to that, we go into that too,” explains Georgia. This allows their work to tell the authentic, diverse stories that iStock Signature images are known for.
“Even though it’s stock, there’s realness in it,” adds Henk.
Through PixelCatchers, they hope to build their country as much as their company, planting the creative seed with the people they interact with. “Hopefully they’ll pursue a job in photography or the creative industry and create jobs for our country,” says Henk. “You need skill, but you can learn at any age.”
As a self-taught professional, he would know. “It’s been great fun,” concludes Henk. “And it’s still going on. What a great journey.”
Get PixelCatchers Images, Only at iStock
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