About the KZN Photo Academy
In October 2008, two seperate yet linked events led to the formation of the KZN Photo Academy
(Originally called the Whysall's Photo Academy).
The first was the was availability of one of South Africa's most
knowledgeable and eloquent photographic personalities - Mark D Young -
and the other was the desire by the Whysall's group to expand their
in-house tuition offering - previously limited to
their Umhlanga branch - to include the upper-highway region of Durban, KZN.
Thus it was that the academy was established in its initial location in
Westville where it soon began serving students from the greater Durban area as
well as photographers from as far afield as Underberg, Wartburg, Port
Shepstone and Empangeni.
In August 2009 the need to accomodate increasing enquiries from clients
of other retail groups, as well as requests for retail skills training,
led to a process whereby a management buy-out and re-naming of the academy to
the style of KZN Photo Academy was
facilitated to enable an expansion of the range of services available
from the academy to a wider group of enthusiasts.
Senior Tutor and course director:
Mark D Young has been involved with photography in Southern Africa since his first professional assignment in 1978. He
has undertaken professional photographic work both as a
photo-journalist and commercial photographer in various African
countries, Europe, North America and the Far East. In addition, he was
involved in the early development and field testing of digital imaging
equipment in South Africa from as early as 1995.
Mark was called
upon by the erstwhile Department of Environmental Affairs to train the
1987 and 1988 SANAE and Marion Island teams in the basics of photography and the
handling of cameras in cold and wet environments. This was due to his experience of
these conditions in Alaska and the winter mountains of Lesotho while on various assignments.
He has also been extensively involved in photographic retailing and
wholesaling both locally and abroad and, as such, he has first-hand
experience of the needs of newbies to photographic equipment -
their questions and apprehensions. His ability to make the various
technicalities of photographic equipment easily understood to
"non-boffs" make his teaching methods easily understood and fun.
Mark was also the founding editor of a number of photographic magazines - foremost among these was
SA Photo Magazine
(AfroMedia 1995) which morphed into the PiX Magazine of today when the
publisher passed-away. Mark was honoured with the PICA Award as Journalist of the Year in the Sports and Hobbies Writing category in
1997 for making the technical realm of photography accessible and easy
to grasp for the readers of the magazine.
In 1996 Mark was called upon to address the inaugural South African
Photojournalism conference by the University of Grahamstown and has
also lectured at the National College of Photography - prior to its
purchase by Vega.
Mark has written widely on the subject of photography for magazines,
web-sites and journals around the world and published dedicated camera
guides for selected advanced D-SLR cameras. His tuition has set the
stage for the careers of several well-known photographers in South Africa and
his work at the academy since 2008 has provided the key to a lifetime of
enjoyment for many thousands of camera owners.
The on-going mentorship on
offer from the KZN Academy - a unique aspect of our school - is
in place due to Mark's insistence that the skills and gifts used to
make great images are not the exclusive preserve of a single individual
and that when students make a commitment to the Academy, a similar
commitment to their on-going enjoyment of photography is required
KZN Photo Academy is in the upper highway area (Hillcrest), KZN. Formal
classes are conducted here for most courses (except the week-end
workshops which take place at selected away venues) unless a client opts for the individualised, home tuition offering.
The classroom is located within a working studio facility which includes cooking
facilities for food photography and a customised outdoor area to permit the
application of principles as they are taught. Thus
students can put
any given technique into practice as well as practically observe the results of setting
changes or new techniques.
Far from being just a teaching studio, the facility is also an
operational commercial studio where pack shots, portraits, fashion/advertising and magazine cover-shoots are undertaken.
The Academy wishes to thank the following firms
for donations of equipment and support of our students