They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Though this may be true, finding the path to change is often a time consuming, laborious process. And so it was with me. I've been a professional photographer for 17 years, having first worked for a company as their internal photographer, and then starting Heatwave Photography 13.5 years ago. I photographed weddings on film. Four rolls colour, one roll black and white. I remember nervously waiting for the photos to be printed. There was no checking the back of the screen to see whether you got the shot or not. You clicked and prayed.
As time passed, I stopped doing wedding photography and I gravitated towards photographing products, interiors and events. Through the years I realised that I genuinely enjoy helping clients solve their problems. I felt I wanted to do more of that, but photography on its own is limited in the scope of change it can affect. I knew something had to change, but I had no clue where to start. I had built Heatwave Photography to the point where I had many happy clients, from small businesses to global corporations, who trusted me to successfully execute on brief. I was comfortable. Business was good and I had great clients.
As fate would have it, I was diagnosed with cervical cancer around that time. I had no idea how to process what was happening to me. The shock was so deeply intense that I couldn't hide it, yet I couldn't find the words to tell anyone what was going on inside. I couldn't even admit to myself what was happening. Cancer changes the way you look at the world.
After treatment, I took some time to process and come to grips with what had happened, and how it had changed me. I wanted desperately to use my experience to make a difference in the lives of others, so I created a self-funded video to highlight the importance of the HPV vaccination and going for regular PAP smears.
I was overwhelmed by the response when I shared it on social media. It has been viewed and shared many times, as well as published on numerous cancer and health-focused websites.
Through all of this, I saw the power of storytelling firsthand. Women related their own stories, and many women came back to let me know that they'd been for their PAP Smear or had taken their daughters to get the vaccine as a result of seeing the video.
The penny dropped. Photography in and of itself is good, but using photos, videos and words to tell stories can affect change in the lives of people who would otherwise not have been changed by seeing an advert or reading statistics only.
Since then, I've done a lot of research into using photos, videos and words to tell the stories that can bring change in individuals and in corporate environments. Through the years, I have worked with many creative professionals who are experts at their craft. We've built relationships, and I've built a team that consistently delivers excellent productions of the highest standard.
Our services include:
We've made brands visible since 2005. In fact, we've been creating content since before content creation was even a thing. Contact me to see how we can help make your brand visible.
Marinda Van Zyl