Ken Gerhardt


It was in my late teens that the fine arts became a passion of mine and, had photography not seduced me away, I would have gone on to study fine art at Michaelis Art School in Cape Town.

The attraction to photography led me to Dirk Schwager’s studio. From day one as his understudy, I was assigned to darkroom duties. After fourteen months in the ‘dark ages’ he finally handed me a Nikon F2, one roll of black-and-white film and ushered me out into the daylight, “Bring me back some pictures and, make sure they’re bloody good.”

It’s been 38 years since I went out on my own but it’s in the last few years that my passion for the fine arts re-surfaced. In 2011, I dug out my old Nikon SLR cameras, imported Kodak and Ilford film stock; I now leave my digital gear behind and venture out in pursuit of creating and taking pictures; “make sure they’re bloody good” echoing in my mind.

I know that analog photography; wet-lab film processing and Silver-Gelatin handprints are the way forward to liberating that first love.


“...the camera need not be a cold mechanical device. Like the pen, it is as good as the man who uses it. It can be the extension of mind and heart...” - John Steinbeck.


Ken’s Work/Collections:

Collection 01: “Film REvisited”

Film REvisited is a body of work that includes an old classic 1942 British motorcycle, the Royal Enfield. The inspiration was to emulate film director Alfred Hitchcock who appeared in every film he directed. Similarly, I have placed the Royal Enfield (RE) into every picture; sometimes as the hero and, in others understated and often difficult to find in the photograph.


Collection 02: “Gates ‘n Fences”


This body of work is ongoing and was inspired while shooting “Film REvisited” – during the seven months it took to gather material for “Film REvisited” - I became fascinated with our countryside and the countless farm gates that promised a ‘hidden’ farm house somewhere beyond. And of course farms that were fenced in by endless wire. There is a real intrigue driving for days and months and witnessing a country almost totally wrapped in wire!


Collection 03: “Off the Rails”

This body of work is current and I’m shooting more fine art photographs – it is also a project of necessity.
There is a wise saying; “.., a prophet is never heard in his own home town.”
This challenges me because this stretch of railroad I’ve known since a little boy. It is so much my “home town” I need to shoot it in such a way that it appears as if I’m seeing it for the first time. My other challenge is this railway line runs along one of the most scenic stretches of coastline found anywhere in the world. Therefore the category “Candid” is apt choice for this body of work.


Collection 04: “Out ‘n About”


This work is really an attempt to shoot ‘freestyle’ and not be governed by shooting a particular collection/body of work destined for a gallery. So, the result is that these images are a kind of reportage of my travels while pursuing my love of art photography.

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