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By Kezia Daniels

Freelance photographer Pierre Rommelaere is no stranger to the Stellenbosch nightlife and music scene. Rommelaere has been in the photography game since 2011, and started visiting bars and venues all over Stellenbosch and Cape Town in 2012 to take photographs at numerous parties, music gigs and events. He has been pursuing photography full-time since 2013.

When asked about what he loved most about Stellenbosch, the place he would never grow tired of capturing, Rommelaere responded with “the nightlife and live music”.

“I’ve always loved seeing and documenting how a night in a student town unfolds and the interesting scenes that come of it. Live music is where I found my niche as a photographer, and luckily, Stellenbosch used to offer live music almost every night of the week,” he continued. 

In every field of art, an artist has inspirations for their work and influences that are the reason they do what they do. “My biggest inspiration is the local music scene. If there wasn’t such a vibrant and diverse music scene, I would probably never have picked up a camera,” said Rommelaere.

It is also no surprise that in some way, COVID-19 has interfered in everybody’s life, especially freelance artists. When asked how COVID-19 affected his work, Rommelaere mentioned that because events were non-existent in the earlier phases of the pandemic, his work was negatively impacted. He also stated that it gave him time to reflect on his career and start planning for the way forward. 

“Luckily, events are making a comeback, so things are looking very positive again,” said Rommelaere.

Rommelaere offers a piece of advice to young aspiring photographers starting their journey in this field: “Don’t worry too much about getting the best gear in the start. The photographer makes the photo, not the gear. Worry about that when things start to get serious.” 

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