Interview with photographer Nina Zimolong

Read our interview with Nina Zimolong, a young photographer based in Cape Town.


Can you introduce yourself to our readers?

Hi, my name is Nina Zimolong. I’m a quirky and energetic human with a passion for adventure and capturing enthralling moments. My home base is in the beautiful Stellenbosch, Cape Town. But, I don’t really sit still, I’m that “never a dull moment” kind of person. I don’t conform to the norm. I live my own story with fierce enthusiasm. The world is my canvas, one which I like to share with interesting and unique humans.

Purpose, for me, is when I click that shutter button and feel goosebumps that derive from living my passion.

How did you first get into photography?

I picked up an old camera two years ago while I was working in Berlin and started to do travel photography. Then a year ago I moved my direction into taking more photos of people.

When did you start calling photography your profession and how did you know it was meant to be?

I can’t really think of an exact moment where I went “this is my profession.” To this day, I still see it as my art and passion. Honestly, I probably started calling it my profession (subconsciously) when my calendar started filling up with more and more bookings.

You do lifestyle, travel, fashion, sports and other types of photography. Among all these, which is your favorite?

Definitely fashion.

The moment in your career so far that you are most proud of.

Taking the step to be a full-time photographer.

Which is the picture/project that represents you the most?

The photo of the girl walking on the architectural structure. I feel that she represents me in my life and my career. There are hurdles that one has to overcome to reach the top. There are so many things you have to give up and sacrifice if you truly want to make it in the industry. You need to give your all, and push yourself but also remember why you are doing it and not forget to enjoy it.

Seeing that nowadays everyone thinks they can be a photographer, what makes one a real professional in your opinion?

Firstly, a real photographer is set apart by their calendar. You will not find a bad photographer that is fully booked, and if they are, their fees are probably very low. Nowadays, a good photographer is also set apart by their portfolio on social media. Social media has been the gateway to starting many careers, but if you oversell yourself, your social account will also point that out very quickly. In essence, a good photographer stands out like a diamond in the rough, just like a good Instagram account does.

What does photography represent to you?

To me, photography represents telling a story and sharing a little piece of myself. Photography has opened so many doors that I never saw coming. It has been the root of many meaningful relationships and experiences, for which I am eternally grateful. It truly is a craft of beauty.

If you were to give an aspiring photographer an advice, what would it be?

Do not ever settle down. Always go out of your way to push yourself, enhance your creativity and boost your technical skills. You should never reach a point where you stagnate or think that you’re good enough. Photography is a constantly changing and very competitive environment.

If not photography, then what? 

I consider myself a creative and intelligent person. Even though it would be unthinkable to not have photography, I would probably go into an online-based format where I can live my passion, which is inherently to create and showcase my perspective.

Where do you see photography in 10 years?

Well, what I think is that the photographic market will become quite saturated. I mean, it already is. What I hope that time will bring – along with the obvious innovations – is a jump back to the roots of photography, where hard work and dedication will establish something vintage again. I see photography evolving, but I definitely do not see it die. The top creatives out there will still find a way to be better than the rest. Because that’s what we do. We take what we have and push ourselves further and further.

Make sure to check out Nina Zimolong’s work on her website, and to follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

Ivona Josipovic

Ivona Josipovic is a co-founder of The Smoke Detector, writer, fashion stylist, social media manager, curious creature, chocolate lover.

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