Riehan Bakkes, Creative Director and Photographer Blows our minds with his surreal images


This is a real treat! Riehan Bakkes takes us on a breathtaking visual journey with his photography! Enjoy and feel free to share

Who is Riehan Bakkes and what do you do?
I am the Creative Director & Senior Photographer at Bakkes Images, a commercial photo studio based in Stellenbosch. As leading wine & beverage photo studio in the area, our portfolio extends further to include portraiture, landscapes, architectural exteriors & interiors, food and fine arts providing a good all-round service provider for our clients. A recent endeavor for the studio is the photography of celebrities and musicians, a field welcomed for creative expansion. At Bakkes Images we constantly push the boundaries to avoid getting caught in formulated styles of photography. We believe in living in the creative realm and having fun while doing so.

3. Binneland Inc

How would you define your style or art? 

As a commercial photographer my art is defined as the creation of visual art in line with the corporate requirements of products or services with the aim to increase sales and credibility to the client. It entails bringing corporate ideas together with visual arts. My style is perfectionist, technology focused and unashamedly lighting obsessed most of the times. My affinity to strobism is made possible by the great people at Visico Studio & Lighting Equipment, our main sponsor for all our lighting requirements. Please check them out at www.visico.co.za .

What inspires your work? 
I believe as a photographer (or cinematographer) every step of our lives is incorporated in your approach, thinking, visualizing and execution of image creation. Every day life is inspiring weather you are guided by drive, a beautiful image you saw in the net or in real life, a good movie, a nice song etc. The challenges in photography are inspiring. I find the work of master photographers inspiring. Most of all the results of my work is inspiring. Looking at a beautiful creation creates such excitement that is is avoidable to do more and better. Always push to be better.

Albert Frost III_Bakkes Images_02

What are you currently working on? 
New commissions come in daily so everyday is different. The featured work for this entry is an exiting new project that roams in mind constantly. I have only recently ventured into surrealism and applied the techniques to two of SA’s well-known artists, Albert Frost and Gian Groen at V&H Music & Publishing (Pty) Ltd.

For the album cover of Gian Groen’s new CD the direction for the photography was to create surreal images composed of current and archival images – some dating back to 2001 shot on film! I love creating surreal images. It challenges your editing capabilities and creative insight and planning.

The cover image for Gian Groen’s new album “Dekade se Ballades” (A Decade of Ballads) show the artist struggling in stride against a storm that represents everyday life that can be challenging and hard. Not all daily life is a struggle or stormy, the image has a dark side on the left and a lighter right side. Nevertheless, the artist explained to me in the pre-production interview that he draws his inspiration for music writing from life experiences, good or bad. In the images, in his struggle against the storm, he holds confidence in overcoming and achieving through the struggle, he protects his heart from the cold and dangers, the heart being where his experiences are converted in to songs and exits through his music (his guitar). The clock represents the time component of the title and the road the path he has walked in songwriting and performing of over the last ten years.

The rest of the image for the album was created with the album booklet in mind that would visually aid the lyrics of key songs on the album. “Alles sal ok wees” sings about a ship coming in, trail and error, guidance and love. “Binneland in” for escaping metropolis and pressures; “Stiltetyd” a quiet peaceful and warm image in accompaniment to the song; “Vier Seisoen Kind” with autumn leaves. This was an amazing experience. When the music is on and you indulge in the images they become highly complimentary.

In another set I created two surreal images for Blues Master Albert Frost. It was an experiment really, but Albert wanted to communicate the lighthearted side along with the heavier formal blues black & white outfits or image he has become known for. For this reason Albert and drummer Kenan James were juxtaposed in different outfits in their reflections with a further manipulation of reality by flipping fish and birds around to emphasize the message.

Albert Frost III_Bakkes Images_03

What advice would you give young creatives looking to do what you do?
In my opinion young creatives should determine their strengths and perfect them. Find a niche and focus all your attention on it in order to create a solid reputation and portfolio in a field. Everything else will follow from there. Be passionate. People and clients see passion and appreciate it a lot. Don’t cut corners. Make sure all stages of your creative process is of 100 percent perfection and you will succeed.

Where can our readers follow your work?
Readers can follow our work at www.bakkesimages.com or www.bakkesimages.blogspot.com for more up to date showcasing. Follow me on Twitter @bakkesimages or Facebook  at Bakkes Images.

Who is better, Michael Jackson or Prince? (who do you prefer if you had to choose?) 
Prince by far. Less freakish and a lot more style.

1. Gian Groen Cover Dekade Se Ballades


2. Alles sal ok wees


4. 4 Seisoene Kind


5. Stiltetyd


6. Back Cover



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