Obie Oberholzer

Born on a farm in Africa. (On the 26th of August 1947 to be exact). Spent most of my first eight years running around barefoot like a wild little madman. Later went to an English High School and started wearing shoes. Managed to scrape through final exams but excelled at sport and girls. Was drafted into the South African Air Force, but did a lot more athletics than aerial combat. Went to Stellenbosch University and became reckless and exuberant. Studied Graphic design, drinking, dancing, rugby and athletics. Was made aware that cameras can produce images. Fell in love with photography and Lynn. Bought a Hasselblad and got married.

Looked around and became aware of the bad political situation in South Africa. In 1970, said goodbye to all the friends and parents and went off to study photography in München, Germany. Quickly learnt that fun and hard work didn’t mix. Broadened my horizons in many ways. Learnt that to excel in image making needed total enthusiasm and commitment. Received top marks in the final exams.

In 1973 worked as camera assistant at a German Film Company. Started to long for the wide-open plains of Africa. Returned to South Africa to find that Apartheid was at it’s worst. Found work in Pretoria and fell around from job to job and from bar to bar. In 1975, started lecturing at The Natal Technikon in Durban. Approached teaching with enthusiasm.

In 1979, took sabbatical and returned to München to complete a Masters Diploma at the Bavarian State Institute of Photography. In 1980 was promoted to Senior lecturer, but caused some kind of shit and was demoted the next day. In 1984, applied for head of the Photography Section at Rhodes University in Grahamstown. In 1999 was promoted to Associate Professor. Didn’t cause any shit so remained in that position till my retirement from academia in 2002.

Moved to Nature’s valley and started a freelance photographic business. Have never lost my enthusiasm for photography. From 1975 to the present day, have produced 10 coffee table books. ( ‘Momento Mori’ was a collaboration with historians ). During this time, have had 34 solo exhibitions in South Africa and 10 International one-man exhibitions in Europe. Still photographing for many international publications around the world.

My wife of 40 years, Lynn, who retired from teaching when we moved to Nature’s Valley, is now assisting me. My wild and wonderful sons, Nikki and Jesse, are at present living in Qatar and Australia.

For my Curriculum Vitae please click here