Interview with SA Expat in Barcelona – Photographer Tanja Kappler
Like many young South Africans, Tanja Kappler had dreams of a life in Hollywood’s film industry, but after a six-month stint in Los Angeles, she realised it wasn’t for her. And so she moved to Barcelona and started taking beautiful photographs. Here she talks to SAPeople about life in a non-English country, her passion for photography […]
Like many young South Africans, Tanja Kappler had dreams of a life in Hollywood’s film industry, but after a six-month stint in Los Angeles, she realised it wasn’t for her. And so she moved to Barcelona and started taking beautiful photographs.
Here she talks to SAPeople about life in a non-English country, her passion for photography and the longing for Highveld thunderstorms.
So when and why did you move to Barcelona? And what have been the highs and lows of life in Spain?
It was always on my Favourite City list after having come here in my early twenties. The year 2009 brought some changes to my working career in advertising, and I took it as a signal to start following my dreams…which were to speak Spanish, live in Barcelona and to pursue my photography career.
In 2010 I left Cape Town and headed to Costa Rica to do a TEFL (Teach English as a Foreign Language) course with the idea of teaching English in Barcelona. I made it to Barcelona by Spring and was slightly disorientated trying to find my way around!
The siestas and not being able to communicate were hard to deal with.
I love the food, the late sunset in summer, the beach life and the endless festivals. Its a great city for street photography!
When did you know you wanted to be a photographer?
I got totally hooked on photography around 2007 when I got my first Nikon DSLR. And I haven’t stopped shooting anything and everything since then. I am self-taught – I constantly read photography news and view pictures; sometimes I shoot with others photographers, and I learn from my bloopers.
Do you specialise in any specific photography? Do you have any projects on the go?
It’s a tough one to say what I am going to specialise in. I love landscape photography, but I am also leaning towards fine art photography.
My current project is with a Brazilian artist who does Pop Art in Barcelona. We have travelled to Brazil this week to shoot some scenes, and we’ll use these images combined with her artwork to create a mixed media style. Have a look at her facebook page – PopArtBarcelona – she has super colourful summer stuff.
Who’s the most interesting person you’ve met through your photography?
French DJ Miss Brown – we did a shoot in the lobby of a Hotel.
What’s your motto in life?
Perhaps the most exciting realisation in the world is finally understanding that living the life of your dreams is entirely up to you. Taken from ‘Notes from the Universe’, by Mike Dooley.
Bravest thing you’ve done to date?
Absolutely moving here to Barcelona on my own.
What do you think is the key to being a happy expat?
Perhaps the key is liking where you are living, and enjoying being a ‘girl’ as foreigners are called here in Barcelona. I find laughing helps communication. There are a few of us South Africans here in Barcelona, but not many. I enjoy meeting up with South Africans – there is nothing like talking the South African Jabber!
Do you still visit South Africa or miss anything from home?
I totally long for the Highveld thunderstorms. That bolt of lightning, crash of thunder, warm pelting rain and thereafter the gorgeous sunshine once again. And of course the smell of the earth after the rain is divine!
All my family are still in Jozi, and on my last visit I so enjoyed driving an old jeep around town. Makes me feel like a cowgirl.
What are your dreams for your future?
To open a shop here in Barcelona with POP Art Barcelona. It will be a gallery space with a photo studio, where I can do more still life and fine art photos.
The Shout Out
Tanja’s Photos of life in Barcelona and more: click here