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Nature pic – a giant step for young photographer

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King David High School Linksfield matric student Jaime Freeman discovered a talent for wildlife photography during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 while on a trip to the bush, where he took pictures of anything he could, no matter how big or small.

It was this love affair with photography that led him to win the prestigious 2023 Young South African Photographer of the Year award earlier this year. And it wasn’t his first award.

“I fell in love with the idea of capturing the wild beauty of the natural world, and I’ve been shooting ever since,” he said.

In a short period of time, he has developed his skills to take acclaimed photographs, which he showcases on his Instagram page, where he has more than 1 300 followers. In his artistic photographs, he shares all the wildlife he has seen on various trips, ranging from something as large as an elephant to as small as a bush cricket.

It was on a family trip to Sabi Sands Nature Reserve in 2022 that Freeman was able to take two award-winning photographs, Dwarf on a Giant and African Lioness.

Dwarf on a Giant, a picture of a bush cricket perched on an elephant, was the 2023 Young South African Photographer of the Year winning photograph. The award showcases a striking and memorable image taken by a photographer under the age of 18.

Said Freeman, “As we were about to leave the reserve, we came across an elephant feeding on the side of the road. We stopped to watch this incredible animal one more time, and while I was watching him, I noticed a green speck on his tusk. I took a closer look, and realised that it was a bush cricket resting on the elephant’s tusk.

“I thought it a rare opportunity to capture and contrast the largest land animal on earth with a tiny insect, and how they each seem to be completely oblivious to the other’s presence, yet they are living in the same world,” Freeman said.

A year later, at the end of 2023, he entered this image into the awards along with thousands of other applicants.

In March 2024, he was informed that he had won the 2023 Young South African Photographer of the Year award. “Needless to say, I was excited beyond belief, and all of my friends were so happy for me,” he said.

“We’re so proud of Jaime and his photography prowess,” King David Linksfield wrote on Facebook.

Jaime flew out to Cape Town to attend the awards ceremony on 5 April, where the image was displayed along with other winners of the competition showcasing all different forms of wildlife.

He was given various prizes, including a brand-new Canon R7 camera with a Canon RF 100mm-400mm lens, valued at about R46 000, to take his career in photography to the next level.

During the 2022 trip, he also took a picture of a lioness in a tree, which won the Youth in Africa category of the 2022 Benjamin Mkapa African Wildlife Photography Awards in November 2022, when he was just 15 years old.

Whenever he goes on a trip to the bush, Freeman makes sure to pack all his camera equipment so he can capture the next nature marvel, and he hopes to turn his passion into a career.

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