ABOUT: BRIDGET CORKE
I've been a Johannesburg photographer specialising in portraits, editorial and documentary photography since 2005.
MY PERSONAL STORY
I lost my mom when I was 30. That doesn't make me unique, but it did change my outlook. Not a 10th of October passes without me remembering my mother's final words to me. "Life is short. Look at me. I am 62 and about to die. Bid, you are not the corporate type. Follow your creative passion. Do something with yours before it's over!"
I was incredibly sad for years. At that time, I was working in the corporate jungle of Johannesburg. Eight years later, my father died on my mom's birthday. His children were at his side as he took his final breath. I will never forget that privileged moment with all its sadness and the strength I drew from it.
After I left the corporate world, I got divorced, was blessed with a beautiful son, picked up my camera and went to work. I learnt quickly that no one owes you anything.
I've photographed both happiness and sadness. I know that the lens works both ways and that nothing teaches nothing.
Let me be your storyteller. I want you to feel steady when you look at your pictures. I want them to look at you. Be real. Transparent. I want you drawn into them. And I want to be able to say the same of them.
Maya Angelou said it so beautifully. "People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them feel."
REFLECTIONS: PERSONAL PHOTOS
My first portrait study. My dad. He died 11 months later.
Having captured him means the world to me.
I don't have one of my mom.
When I captured my son in 2003, I knew he would have a
treasured memory from that age - something I don't have.
I wanted to make a career out of capturing similar fleeting,
fragile moments for others, which I've been doing since
Getting a photo of us together means asking the strangest
people - my client's 10-year-old daughter captured this one
of Sebastian and me.
I grew up with English bulldogs. Conceived around the
same time Blossom was born, I love this photo of me
introducing her to Sebastian in 2002.
I stole this one of Blossom weeks before she died in my
arms following a driveway high-jacking. I believe the
trauma was too much for her. Both experiences live in
Don't be fooled by those looks. Venus had a heart of
gold and was eternally loyal. She passed away in 2018,
the day before her birthday, having spent most of her
days sleeping at my feet.
Venus, captured by Sebastian, being cooled down from
Johannesburg 2016 heatwave with his three-year-old
beach towel. This photo was one of the last memories
we have of her.
Princess Leia crept into our lives seamlessly after
Blossom died. The clown of the pack and has since
ascended to top-dog status. She flaunts both roles with
I love the whole thing about my boy in the following two
photos. I took them three years apart—both fleeting
moments. The framed image of him captured in 2006.
He never gives me enough time, so I too live with some
smartphone snaps. I often love them more, because
I have them.
I'm blessed to live in a country of such diversity,
privileged that the Big Five game animals are 300km
away from me. Sadly I'm not into wildlife photography.
The lens is either too long or too short. By the time you
work our which lens to use the moment is gone. I do
like these of mine, if only for their sense of humour.
These hippos remind me of my hounds.
Sebastian and I have clean palates that simply love
home-cooked food. Nothing wrong with a blob of
cream in the tomato soup with our ever-present
Strawberries with "blue" fillet - a birthday treat!
Many people have asked me over the years whether
I captured the photo of Nelson Mandela on my
website? Yes. Every single one besides the ones of
him and me. Six-year-old Sebastian and I spent over
four hours at his home. I love the twinkly highlights
of Mandela's shoes against my boy's bony feet. As
Sebastian gets older, the significance of this moment
will dawn on him in all its fullness.
My Madiba moment. Typical photographer. Clearly
giving instruction, mid-stream to the photographer.
An aerial shot of me and Sebastian.
This is my simple, privileged life that I don't take for