I am Francois Pistorius
I create content for your brand. A camera and I met many years ago and became best friends. Together we create stories with photography, film, and writing.
A camera, miles traveled, hours of creating, life as a creative, Stories inspire me. Your story matters. I am always looking for new stories to tell.
I live and work in South Africa and where my Camera takes me.
My journey as a photographer started in my teens. I remember going on a school trip to the Eastern Transvaal. I was 13 years young with an old film camera in hand. I remember standing by a waterfall, taking pictures of classmates. It was getting dark. The flash popped up and flashed. It was my first lesson on how to use a flashlight in low light situations.
In my archived albums, there are photos of me with a blond bob. Today my head is shaved, the blond locks disappeared. I was born, in the ’70s, long hair was the trend. The film era had a retro style and look. Today there are various grading tools, presets, and photoshop tutorials to create retro filters.
My first experience being a photographer was in 1993. I traveled to Europe with a few pennies my grandfather invested in me and my brother. The money was only available for education. It was an opportunity to see Europe at 17. My brother booked the same three-week trip. It was a boy’s dream to be able to experience the streets of Italy, Germany, France, and the Uk with a camera in hand.
I took pictures of everything, as a young boy who arrived in Europe for the first time from South Africa, everything was beautiful and different in West Europe. The architecture, the streets, the people, to landscape, the weather, it all made an impression. Little did I know that a three years later, while studying a BA degree at The University of Pretoria and simultaneously completing an art diploma at The Open Window School of Art, I would choose to focus on becoming a photographer.
In my early twenties, I photographed various subjects. During my studies, we studied documentaries about Peter Lindbergh. The films inspired me to pursue my dream of becoming a photographer.
I wanted to be a fashion photographer. Pretoria had no film industry for fashion photographers in the late ’90s, so I decided to move to Cape Town. The production industry was thriving in Cape Town. We produced fashion and advertising campaigns for clients from all over the world. As an aspiring photographer, I assisted International photographers. We worked long hours, carrying heavy equipment and lighting. In between setups, runners were sent to the film lab to process test clips. It was before the digital era. After each day, we entertained clients while preparing for the next shoot day.
As a shy Afrikaans boy, I worked hard. I wanted to learn everything. In between all the production work, I had little time to work on my portfolio. I received an opportunity to start producing full time for a production company. All the rental, management, upkeep of the camera equipment, and the studio was my responsibility. I started creating personal work. Planning was crucial. The cost of film and polaroid was expensive. Your ideas and execution had to be precise.
I met a danish photographer in Cape Town who produced a lot of campaigns for his Danish, Swedish, British and French clients in South Africa. I started assisting Peter.
I then received the opportunity to become Peter’s assistant and studio manager in Paris.
Paris is incredible. Glamorous and fashionable, with delicious french food and wine. We produced work from Paris to Hong Kong, Europe, United Kingdom, USA, and back to Cape Town for summer. I subscribed to a membership at the Centre Pompidou and the Louvre. All the art and shows a few minutes away from where I lived in the 2nd arrondissement. After a year of living out of a suitcase, I decided to return to South Africa. That didn’t last long before I moved to London.
My years in London were dedicated to learn and read about lighting. I worked with a studio called Sola, who specialized in German-designed Briese lighting. I met various famous people, photographers, and filmmakers while working as a Briese lighting expert, or so we called ourselves to set up lighting and lighting sets all over London. During this time, I also had the opportunity to live in Sweden and work with a Swedish studio. In Cape Town, I met many Swedish photographers.
I created many different genres of work. I returned to South Africa in 2010. In Cape Town’s beautiful Winelands and vibrant culinary scene, I started producing a lot of food photography. I grew up in a house where my father cooks. I think this made me focus on food photography without realizing it, which eventually would lead me to point my camera lens to a beautiful plate or ingredient.
My food photography evolved from personal projects. I started working with winemakers and coffee shop owners. During this time, I met Isabella Niehaus. Isabella worked as a fashion editor for many years before she traded fashion for food and life on the West Coast.
I met Louis Jansen van Vuuren and Hardy Olivier while working with Isabella. Hein van Tonder and I photographed the cookbook, Story of a House. We traveled to France to work together on the book for La Creuzette in Boussac.
Light inspires me. Lighting is everything. Once you have a good understanding of lighting, the stories start. Fashion and food photography is about the people who produce the work. You have to hero the subject. Every chef and their food has a story. Every designer has a story, and each designer has a face who will be part of that story or theme in a collection or campaign.
I create content to tell stories with photography, film, and writing. I live in Pretoria. I lived in Cape Town for 18 years. I believe you find inspiration when you challenge yourself to leave a comfort zone.
I strive to create images inspired by simplicity. I am not an equipment geek. I work best with light equipment and use natural light when I can.
I work to create natural images with less retouching that focus on the beauty and uniqueness of each person or setup. My goal is to create compelling visual stories to engage your audience with your brand stories.
Some fantastic news, during the lockdown the Cookbook ” Duinhuis ” that I photographed with Isabella Niehaus, received The Best in the World in its category out of 250 worldwide entries, at the Gourmand Awards in France.