Wesley John Lewis is a South African born photographer with an international portfolio and a passion for shooting on 35mm film.
Film photography is the art of taking photographs on thin, transparent strips of plastic which are developed later on. It’s all very retro. One side of the film strip is coated with a gelatin emulsion that contains small silver halide crystals, which determine the contrast and resolution of a photograph.
Escaping to an era passed, or at least thought to be passed, film photography produces snaps that elicit the character of another era. Compared to their digital counterparts, film cameras produce a unique look. The colour variations are more vivid and details that are often lost with mainstream cameras are at the forefront.
A wind-washed wave; goosebump; leak of sunlight. Intimacy is at the forefront of film photography, and especially that of Wez Lewis’ work.
Wez grew up in Durban where he received a Bachelor’s degree in visual communications before moving to the Gold Coast in Australia where he worked for an agency as a Graphic Art Director.
Now, he partly resides in Cape Town and moves around the world for work, shooting in places like Indonesia, across Europe and in Los Angeles. Cape Town, however, is always a stunning muse to return to.
During his time in Australia, Wez spent a lot of his free time snapping away at his friends on his film camera until he realised that the results of his passion might be good enough to transform into a career. The beginnings of a stunning success story that has seen the young photographer boom.
Iconic local and international brands have sought-out Wez’s skills. His clients include H&M, Billabong, Jeep (shooting champion surfer Jordy Smith), Drifter, and Gorgeous George (one of Cape Town’s most adored boutique hotels).
Whether for a big brand or his own creative fix, photography, for Wez, is about creating and showcasing his own world.
As for his subject matter, Wez says that he is inspired by his friends and by nature, particularly the ocean.
Bodies of water and the ocean repeatedly form part of his aesthetic in both his client work and passion projects.
As a creative’s ode to aspiring photographers, Wez advises to strive towards authenticity rather than mimicry. “Try not to copy anyone. This only limits you and your creative process. Do what you like, in the way that you like it, this is the only way to perfect your personal style.”
Wez says that his preferred style and medium will always be 35mm film. A man marked. However, in expanding his craft, he’s looking into film directing and TVC creation.
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Pictures: Wes Lewis, shared with permission. Do not redistribute.