Betina du Toit
Photographer Betina du Toit isn’t just making a name for herself in South Africa, she is also winning business overseas.
In May she worked on an assignment in Amsterdam, which is a huge achievement for her.
Du Toit won the commission through recommendations made by previous clients. “I’ve made a few connections opening up feasible opportunities. Then I also went knocking on a few doors,” she says.
“I guess, as in any competitive market, hard work, discipline and a DIY approach counts.”
Du Toit (29) grew up in Wellington in the Western Cape and earned an honours degree in journalism at the University of Potchefstroom. She also took night classes in photography for two years at the campus.
She then worked for Media24 and TiP Publishing for five years as a writer, shoot-producer and stylist, alongside some of the best local photographers and creative directors. The exposure to their talent helped Du Toit find her own creative voice.
She focuses on portrait and fashion assignments and her photographs often highlight a sense of vulnerability in her subjects.
“The polarity of vulnerability and strength within us interests me. Sometimes a disparity between the eyes, a laughing mouth or idiosyncrasy can tell an entire story,” she says. “Although composed, I try to cut through the guarded to a sense of truthfulness in my personal work.”
Du Toit is married to Wouter, another photographer, and they recently set up a photographic studio in their Cape Town home. But it isn’t getting much use because the couple will be drifting between South Africa, Europe and America for the next two years.
“We’ll definitely settle with a home-studio around Cape Town again thereafter,” she says.
Her love of photography was ignited when she won a Kodak pocket camera in a colouring competition in the 1980s. “I still remember the day my mother and I went to fetch
my prize. I used that first camera for many years,” she says.
— Lesley Stones