Photos I Wish I Had Taken: Johan Swanepoel

Photo: Johan Swanepool

Photo: Johan Swanepoel, taken about 8km north-west of Okaukuejo, Namibia, next to the road.

Earlier this week I put together a group of black and white zebra images that I’d taken in Botswana, Tanzania and Kenya over the last few years. I love zebras and lets face it, there are few animals that are better suited for black and white photography. However, when I see a photo like the one above, I realize how much I have to learn.

Enter Johan Swanepoel.


The first thing that strikes me is the mood of this image: It’s dark and powerful with an intensity that belies the reality of the moment – the zebra was just having a good ‘ole roll.

For me this image drips with drama.  My imagination takes over and I think, perhaps the zebra isn’t rolling but instead the victim of a vicious battle, having been knocked down only moments before this shot was taken.

The use of a shallow depth of field adds a dreamy effect along with a wee-bit reduction in clarity, while the conversion to black and white puts the finishing touches on a highly compelling image.

What do you think?

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5 replies »

  1. Wow this picture is exceptional, I really don’t understand why more people haven’t liked this. It’s so dramatic and drawing in my opinion I really feel a story being told, just beautiful…

      • Haha, I didn’t see it wasn’t your picture. I actually just assumed it was yours because of all your other great pics. I love the one from The Rain’s Aftermath.

        You’re really good, and I was more than happy to stop by can’t wait to see more great shots 🙂

      • LOL… well, quite the complement that you didn’t see a huge difference between my shots and his…I’ll definitely take it. I look at a photo I love each week and talk about it. It’s a feature I do call “Photos I Wish I Had Taken”, which should probably read, “Talent I Covet.” LOL.

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