It takes a special talent to capture lasting imagesThomas Kwenaite
By Andile Dladla
Thabang Steven Lepule is one of the best photographers in South Africa and has over the years captured some of the best football images that have been admired across the country.
It takes long hours of patiently seeking that elusive moment and then capture it before one could be considered a good photographer.
Sometimes it can take years to refine craft and hone your photographic talents to get to a point where even publishing houses accept your work.
Photography is an art form and one needs a lot of patience and a lot more passion allied to that photographic eye to capture a moment that ordinary folks might have missed or not even noticed it.
“I guess every moment is great except these days it’s surreal and a little weird capturing action images without the presence of spectators as they (spectators) were the ones that usually lifted the players to raise their game.”
In the past, during the days of the Alf Khumalo’s of this world, photographers would shoot with film, and then rush to the studios to develop those films and then print them before they could be published, these days the process is a little faster.
But such has been advances in modern technology that today photographers are able to shoot and then edit the images wherever you are and the beauty about the whole process is that you can even send the images to your company instantly.
Lepule has captured far too many images and memories to single out one particular event that stands out. But Orlando Pirate’s semi-final Telkom fixture against Kaizer Chiefs in Durban and the final which Pirates lost to Baroka FC stands out.
“Pirates played their hearts out,” said Lepule. “And seeing Zakhele Lepasa score against Chiefs, Lyle Foster, Yusuf Maart , Thabiso Monyane and Azola Tshobeni make their debuts was special to me considering that I spent a lot of time with them in the junior ranks documenting their journey to their senior team.
“The biggest challenges facing photographers is that stadiums don’t cater for photographers in this country and proper infrastructures for photographers are not in place and in addition there is no internet for us to be able to send our work to the end user.
“We rely on our own devices and usually there are no electrical plugs for laptops. This job is not for the faint hearted or for those seeking fame, we work in all sorts of weather conditions.”
As an experienced photographer that has worked for years at Orlando Pirates FC, Lepule has words of wisdom for those looking to follow in his footsteps.
“As for the young photographers coming, I would say they must be dedicated, committed, work hard and learn more about the field you are in and trends.
“A lot of photographers want to be in that space because they love the club and want to be closer to the players and forget to do the job.
“The players are there to work and I must respect their space because at times they don’t even notice me, but they must go for their dreams and do it for the right reasons with little expectations.”
Lepule has covered many events ranging from rugby, cricket, tennis and even football. But the event he has enjoyed covering the most has been horse racing!