Tim Gerges Portrait Day

Tim Gerges shoots a kid he's never met. This kid made the most amazing gestures.
Tim Gerges shoots a kid he’s never met. This kid made the most amazing gestures.


Timothy Gerges is moving to Cape Town. This is a real pity, because I only met him yesterday.

As a going away party, Tim hired Glow Studios in Illovo for the day with an open invitation to friends and strangers to come and have their portraits taken.

Gareth and Levon had mentioned Tim a few times, and I have always wanted to do a portrait shoot for myself, plus Gareth and Brad were going to be there too, so I wouldn’t be a total stranger.

Turns out I got there before Gareth and Brad, and got talking to Tim.

I came with the preconceived idea that to make a magical portrait, you have to know your subject intimately, in order to capture their nuance. Embarrassingly, I shared this opinion with Tim. He just smiled and began shooting.

I had some idea of what I wanted my portraits to be. Not smiley. Serious. Pensive. Raw. Real.

Tim didn’t give much direction, bar telling me where to stand and where to position my shoulders. He let me just be me, sensing I knew what I wanted to portray.

We reviewed the shots after and I was blown away. I can’t wait to share them.

My invalid belief that there needs to be a pre-existent relationship between photographer and subject for great portraiture to occur was shattered. What there needs to be is trust. Rapport.

We spent the rest of the afternoon watching Tim shoot mutual friends and strangers. Friends were often shy in front of the camera, while strangers were exuberant. Tim directed the friends, got them to open up. He lapped up the enthusiam of strangers. My preconceived ideas were erased with every review of the contact sheet by ecstatic subjects.

There were some over-exuberant friends too: Gareth ripped his pants during a jump shot! Needless to say, Tim got the shot, anyway.

I felt amazed and inspired by the control gained by shooting in a studio. I’m thankful for the lesson learnt.

Thank you Tim Gerges! Good luck in Cape Town!