MARGUERITE OELOFSE: A South African Fashion Photographer Based in London Who Shoots Otherworldly Stories in Her Signature ‘Painterly’ Style

Interviewed by Gabriella Alziari 

“The images that I create are of an otherworldly eminence. They are from the past and the future.”

-Marguerite Oelofse

Marguerite Oelofse was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa. She completed her degree in Visual Communication and began pursuing photography professionally five years ago. For the past three years, Marguerite has been based between Cape Town and Berlin. She has collaborated with a number of magazines in the past such as Marie Claire, Institute Magazine, and Hollow Magazine. Marguerite is currently working in London, focusing on fashion and beauty stories. 

Where did your journey as an artist begin?

My journey began the moment my mother placed a paintbrush in my hand at the age of 3. She is a teacher and taught art privately to young students.

Tell us about your work.

My work is a combination of photography and art. I shoot therefore I paint. The images that I create are of an otherworldly eminence. They are from the past and the future.


Hair & Make-up: Jazz Mang; Styling: Claudia Melzer; Model: Tamina Swan

What is your favorite thing about being a photographer?

I’m fascinated by beauty and I desire to make images that carry a deep emotional feeling. I guess my favourite thing about being a photographer is that I want people to sense an emotional appreciation when they look at my work. My obsession with light contributes to the emotive characteristic you see in my work.

Describe your creative process.

It’s important to determine what you want to convey in the story you plan to shoot. Usually my intent is fuelled by emotion, color, texture and expression. I form a plot structure to direct the sequence of events that lead the character (models) towards the objective. I enjoy thinking of my stories as drama plays with key turning points in each shot. It is vital to work with exceptional artists that share the vision of the photographer. I have a deep love for make-up and hair artists. Once I’ve identified the artists that I would like to work with (stylist and hair and makeup), we discuss ideas and what would visually fit to the shots. From an early age it was my goal to make my work unique and real.

Baptism of Desire

Baptism of Desire 

Hair & Make-up: Jazz Mang; Model: Mia

Is there a reason why you tend to photograph women?

Women inspire me. As women, we have an ability to transform more easily with the adeptness to perform concurrently. I like that a lot when it comes to my work.

How much of your work is done alone, and how much with others?

It’s a combination of both. Being a team player, a director and a painter. When we shoot the stories we work together. But, the moment the shoot is done I have the responsibility to complete the images. It is then when I work alone, shaping the pictures according to my vision.

What are some of the challenges of doing fashion photography?

Fashion is a daring adventure. It is ever-changing. As an artist, you have to keep up with the change, evolve and look for the unusual.

Institute Magazine, The Others

Hair & Make-up: Einat Dan; Styling: Lena Hoffmann; Model: Nele

Do you prefer shooting indoors or outdoors? Why?

I love to shoot in an environment where I can have more control over my lighting setup. I prefer studio or a set.

What is your main goal as an artist?

Artists take ideas from the world around us. My goal is to create something authentic from what I observe.

How has being an artist influenced your life?

It has influenced me to become more curious.

Future Remembered

Hair & Make-up: Jazz Mang; Styling: Fabiana Vardaro; Model: Julia

Is it tough to make yourself stand apart from other artists?

No. From an early age I set out goals for myself to find new ways to express myself.

How is it to work as a female artist in your field?

I never pay much attention to gender. I’m more interested in personal stories.

Females can be as hard and touchy as men, and men can be as tender and sensitive as females. The lines now are blurred.

Once Upon A Time

Hair & Make-up: Mary Gouveia; Styling: Bev Nates; Model: Bella

How have you developed as an artist over the course of your career?

I have the heart of a painter. My development as a photographer was by getting close to that point, but we never truly arrive and that is good because we have to keep searching.

Are you working on any projects currently?

Currently I’m in London, shooting fashion and beauty stories.

Learn more about Marguerite Oelofse hereCheck out her Twitter and Instagram, too! 

Presented by the International Foundation for Women Artists.


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