Street Photographer South Africa? You Must Be Crazy!

“Street Photographer South Africa”


Is that what you typed into your browser, or did you stumble upon this post?

Anyway, let me introduce myself.

My name is Philemon Nkadimeng and I’m a Street Photographer in South Africa.

Yes, I’m crazy.

About street photography.

Let me tell you how crazy I am about Street Photography in South Africa. But first, here are some Crazy Street Photography Tips for South African Street Photographers:

Some Crazy Street Photography Tips For South Africans:

  • You can enjoy street photography without a camera. 

  • Street Photography is about seeing.

  • If you own a camera – any camera, you can start shooting street photography today.

  • People of all ages can enjoy street photography – there are no age limits.

  • People of all races and social standing have the right to shoot street photography.

  • Street photography knows no geographic boundaries. Anyone anywhere can enjoy this craft.

  • You can shoot street photography with your smart phone.

  • You can use your point-and-shoot to capture candid moments.

  • Even your bulky and shiny DSLR is suitable for street photography.

  • But if you’re crazy enough and can afford one, get a Leica or any mirrorless compact camera. 

Street Photographer South Africa – My Irrational Passion

Like irrational fears, such as acrophobia, (fear of heights) claustrophobia ( fear of confined spaces) and agoraphobia, (fear of open spaces) street photography is difficult to explain.

Only crazy people like me will understand the irresistible urge to photograph strangers in public spaces. If you’re that crazy, street photography is a way of life for you. And you don’t need to explain to anyone why you’re roaming the streets looking for something that may or may not happen.

As an African Street Photographer living and shooting in South Africa, I often get asked why I shoot street photography.

People just don’t get it.

And that’s OK.

So, I just tell them that I’m crazy.

You should see the look on their faces when they hear that.

Some are actually puzzled at my response. Others angrily agree with me and say: ‘Yeah, of course you’re crazy.’

‘Why would any normal person take pictures of people who won’t pay him for his work? Why are you doing it anyway? Can’t you find a better hobby out there to immerse yourself in?’

To that I say: This is my best hobby.

Not only that. It’s my irrational passion.


Street Photographer South Africa – My Passion and Fear (Acrophobia)


I also enjoy or suffer from something called irrational fear.

Otherwise known as acrophobia, this one does not really make me happy. Instead, it makes my life miserable.

Sometimes I use my passion for photography to control this fear of heights. Let me explain.


Street Photographer South Africa 2.jpg
Street Photographer South Africa – Irrational Passion and Fear


In 2010 I was in Midrand, Johannesburg and while driving along the Allandale road, I saw men working on electrical pylons.

They were doing their thing at such dizzying heights that I felt my tummy grumbling and I suddenly found it difficult to continue driving. So I stopped on the side of the road and started taking photos. That did the trick for me.

The act of photographing these workers at such heights made me feel better. One of those photos went on to win a competition in PIX magazine. The first prize was a small Nikon s3000.

As my Afrikaans speaking friend would put it: Dis lekker om so mal te wees.

Another time when my irrational passions worked together was when I was at a steel factory in Witbank. I had to deliver some goods at the Highveld Steel And Vanadium Corp.

The security guard send me to the Electrical Foreman at the steel plantI had to climb this long stairway that winded upwards to the top of the structure. My destination was at the top floor.

I remember being so scared that I rested at every floor level. Young and middle-aged steel workers walked passed me on their way upstairs. When some of these energetic guys came back an older man noticed that I was struggling.

“Are you alright?” he asked.

“No.” I said.

“What are you doing here?”

“I need to deliver these goods to the foreman. But I’m scared of heights”

“You must tell your boss not to send you here again.”

That was not very helpful. I could lose my job!

So I psyched myself up.

I imagined I was the official photographer at this giant steel factory. What would I do if asked to document the factory and tell it’s story?

It worked.

The mere idea of me carrying my favourite camera and photographing The Highveld gave me strength.

I walked up like everyone.

As I sat and waited for the foreman to sign my papers I felt the structure shaking. I looked at the foreman and he remained as cool as a cucumber.

I asked him if the office was shaking.

“Yes”. he said.

“Why?” I asked.

“There is a crane moving overhead.”

“This happens everyday?”


I sat there, thinking about my way down.

Again I assumed my imaginary role as the industrial photographer and then walked away peacefully.

So you see, I’m crazy as a South African Street Photographer. I can’t help it. It’s who I am and no one can change that. No, I don’t expect people to understand.

Incidentally, just last week I happened to visit the Highveld Steel And Vanadium Corporation again. This time, to deliver supplies at the Structural Mill. Now, most of you who know this former industrial giant will remember that it closed down several years ago, resulting in the loss of thousands of jobs.


Street Photographer South Africa – Are You Crazy?

If you’re a Street Photographer like me and live in sunny South Africa, please call me and let’s compare notes. Leave a WhatsApp voice note on this number: 063 342 6141. Send an SMS if you like. Whatever you do, just get in touch with me. Connect with me on Twitter and let’s have a chat.

Even if you’re not as crazy about street photography like me, but you want to learn more about this genre, please get in touch with me.

Have you got any stories or experiences about street photography that you would like to share with me?

If so, please use the comments section below.

Till next time,


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