On the outskirts of Stellenbosch, in the Helshoogte Valley, lies the Tokara Wine and Olive Farm. At the entrance to the stunning estate is an art gallery curated by Julia Meintjes, an expert on historical and contemporary South African art. The art exhibited there changes three to four times a year. Until 30 May, a not-to-be-missed photography series entitled “The Landscape Hunter” will be displayed.

Thomas Ferreira is the photographer behind the series, which features panoramic views of landscapes from across the globe.

Ferreira’s first artistic projects weren’t very sophisticated: small videos of his friends skateboarding. These clips instilled in him a desire to study film, and he moved to New York.

“There my love for 16mm and 35mm film started,” he wrote. “Running around the streets of New York, shooting on an old Bolex 16mm camera.”

After returning to South Africa, he started working in the film industry, assisting on fashion shoots and learning new skills at a breakneck speed, shooting music videos for Belleville city rock groups such as Jack Parow and Fokofpolisiekar.

He soon moved into commercials, before realising that it wasn’t the type of filmmaking he wanted to do.

“That’s where The Landscape Hunter started,”

Ferreira said. “I found the total polar opposite thing I could do to shooting horrible commercials.”

Slowly, over the past six years, he’s been travelling all over the world, capturing “memories” of the landscapes he saw there. He likes travelling and shooting alone, driving for miles and sitting for hours or days to take a photo.

It’s his form of meditation, Ferreira said. “[It] gives me time to really think about what I want and appreciate where I am.”

We had a chance to interview Ferreira on his life, work and the exhibition:

Tell us your history:

Wanting to move to New York and pursue my career as a DJ, New York film school was a good excuse. The gift of photography was given to me by my dad a few weeks before leaving SA and it very quickly became my favourite creative outlet. DJ tables were packed away as my camera became my constant companion. I started capturing life around me, mainly specialising in music videos, fashion and commercials, but my love for travel and nature inspired me to capture and share beautiful remote landscapes. I grew to appreciate the way light and weather influenced each scene and how landscapes transform. I haven’t looked back.

What made you choose to pursue art?

I never saw it as art, I simply found a creative outlet I loved.

What other positions have you held? Were you ever on a completely different career path?

Yes, assistant photographer where I learned how to roll and work with film which helped later, as I mainly shoot with film. I have also worked as a director and bartender.

What are you most proud of accomplishing during the course of your life or career?

I am just happy and grateful to be doing what I love and to have the support from friends and family.

What are you currently working on?

Currently exhibiting my first solo exhibition. I recently lost a big majority of my work, so have to re-shoot starting with Africa.

Where do you see yourself in the future?

Doing exactly what I’m doing now: exploring new territory and amazing places to shoot.

What else are you involved in?

I am a partner in an illustration company, AM I Collective, as well as a bar and restaurant in Cape Town and Los Angeles.

What do you do in your free time?

Plan my next trip.

How do you define success?

I try not to define or label success much. I just do what I love and strive to be the best in whatever I do.

What is your life’s motto?

Not to live by a motto

What gets you through tough times?

Whiskey, traveling , good company and music.

About The Author

Elise Harmon

Elise is an intern from Boston, Massachusetts, where she attends Northeastern University. Elise is studying journalism and has previously worked for the Boston Globe and BostInno and been an editor at her school newspaper, The Huntington News. Elise has a passion for telling people's stories and enjoys running, reading, cooking, and petting dogs.

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