What is photography, really? by Kevan Dobbie

What is photography, really? 

Here I sit, its early morning approximately 05h30 and I have just checked guests out for their departure from the lodge. This is the time I have before new guests to write these blogs for the public. Its tough when it comes to time as a full-time lodge-based safari/field guide, nevertheless its rewarding as I have the honor of being a Sigma Brand Ambassador.

This blog discusses “What is photography really?” We will of course portray it in a different way or have different opinions, that is just what it is and what we area – unique humans. If everything were the same life would be boring, but instead the uniqueness makes it interesting.

I have been extremely fortunate in my career so far, working at some amazing lodges, destinations, and reserves across South Africa. I’ve seen amazing sightings, met amazing people, learnt so much about different cultures, learnt about myself as I have grown through my various stages as a safari guide. But there is one thing for me that has stood out in my journey as a safari guide for the past seven years, and that’s photography.

I look back to my first photographs I ever took and think to myself how far I have come. How differently I used to see sightings, animals, experiences and what was around me. Some might agree, when you look at those photos you almost seem embarrassed but don’t be, enjoy and think back to those beautiful memories and relive them. There are no awful photographs, each of us have a different view, different style and a different eye… like I mentioned in the beginning “uniqueness.”

So, “What is photography really” – Photography is more than just capturing photographs, more than specialized editing, more than proving yourself to the public via social media platforms, more than entering competitions, and more than just a hobby. Photography is a way of discovery, either discovering yourself or the things around you. Its portraying the world as you see it. A showcase of your life experiences all summed up in a photograph, no words can describe what you see, but a photograph is awfully close and as they say, “a photograph speaks a thousand words.” Photography is a way of exploring, creating memories of your life and this may be through your travels to destinations you deem as a “once in a lifetime experience” or of your family, Photography is more than just a photograph, it has meaning, compassion, and individuality behind it.

Below I will be leaving you some of my experiences through my career as a full-time safari guide, from the predator-dense Southern Sabi Sands, to the Northern Timbavati, then all the way across the beautiful red-rolling sand dunes of the Southern Kalahari and back to the Northern Kruger National Park. A selection of images that portray what I see daily and my experiences through photography all brought to you through Sigma South Africa, a brand that has invested in me to showcase to you “What really is photography.”


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Kevan Dobbie
Wildlife Photographer

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