Simone Scholtz (b1980) was introduced to photography while studying at Rhodes University (BJournalism with distinction 2003). It was a magical time, working with black and white film and printing it in a darkroom. Portraiture grabbed Simone's attention and she was intrigued by what happens between the photographer and the subject. She completed her documentary project on small town in the Langeberge, Joubertina, 10 years after democracy. (Awarded best 3rd year student, Awarded best dark room printer. Golden Key Academic society.)
Simone was employed as staff photographer at Die Burger straight after her studies. It was a wonderful way for her to see her own country and meet a great diversity of people. She was part of a group of photojournalists and learnt much from picture editors and colleagues.
Simone documented subsistence fishermen on the West Coast (Finalist Mondi Shanduka Newspaper Awards). She was attracted to their lives close to nature and felt an injustice as the coming of democracy did not seem to improve their lives.
Simone moved from capturing injustices to capturing photographs that inspire change through celebrating life. She left Die Burger and travelled to South America where she worked for an NGO, PASCAR, in Bolivia. She documented the lives of the campesinos in the mountains outside Sucre. Although she didn't understand their language, she felt a connection through the universal language of photography. On her return she held a solo exhibition at Cafe des Arts (Kalkbay) and her photographs where published in De Kat magazine. She became a regular contributor to De Kat (Vodacom Photographer of the Year in the Western Cape, 2007). She was also placed on a retainer for Insig magazine (Vodacom Photographer of the Year in the Western Cape, 2008).
Simone worked for GreaterGoodSA to document grassroots organisations across Southern Africa. This resulted in a solo exhibition at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.
In 2010 Simone was selected by World Press Photo to be a part of their Dream Team to document the Soccer World Cup in multimedia format. In 2011 she went to Beijing Foreign Studies University (China) and completed an MA in International Multimedia Journalism.
On her return Simone kept working for NGO's and small busineses and extended her work to include videography. This included a video for SANCCOB to promote the work they do with penguin conservation. Simone also teaches photography to youth and shares her skills so that they can navigate the vast digital landscape.
Simone has turned her camera towards nature. She feels that the connection she once had photographing people naturally moved to plants. She works with circles, movement and Eternity. She photographs Renosterveld, a critically endangered fynbos type. Only 1% of Renosterveld remains on more than 1 hectar as it only grows on the most fertile soil.