Photographers We Love: Celeste Jacobs

INTERVIEWED BY Amelia Brown IMAGES Celeste Jacobs

Cape Town-based writer, editor and photographer Celeste Jacobs has long used Instagram as a place to catalogue and share her photographic eye, and connect with like-minded creatives. Now she’s bringing that digital portfolio to life in a series of prints. VISI chatted to Celeste about her journey from filters to to film… 

Where did your love for documenting begin?

I’m a sentimental person, so holding onto memories and valuing them is pretty high on my list of things that matter to me. Documenting in terms of photography is one extension of this, but other times it might be through another sense… There are some meals that taste like reliving a moment. The same is true for smells, textures and sounds. Sensory stimulation makes time travel seem possible.

Hawa Mahal in Jaipur

What is your major focus or subject matter?

It all kind of kicked off when I started spotting vintage cars. It was a fun and almost meditative process. The more you look for something, the more you see it. I generally like still life captures – anything that feels calm. In real-time seeing something before I press the shutter usually gets my attention and makes me pause for a moment (or a while) – capturing it is, to some extent, a way to make that moment last a little longer.

River deep and mountain high

How has Instagram shaped and influenced your artistic expression?

The main perk is that, depending on how you use it, it’s like having an easy pre-formatted website. I like having a place to share and see what other people who use the platform as a form of expression do. Right now I’m shooting mainly film and there is such an awesome community of people who share their analogue experiences. It’s exciting to see what’s possible in that format and to enjoy the process of making-creating-doing in that way – there’s such a beautiful pace and rhythm to it.

Did you always plan on making some of your prints available to purchase?

Before COVID-19 was a factor, my intention was to co-exhibit a curated selection of the vintage car series with Gabriella Achadinha. I’ve been shooting the series for over three (going on four) years, wherever I’ve been and I felt ready to share that.

At some point, I realised that would most likely not be possible this year, but I still felt some kind of persistent need to push myself and put myself out there. That’s pretty much when I decided to make prints – they’re tactile captures and seeing them on paper really brings them to life.

I think, if anything, the lockdown lesson I’ve rolled with is this: The only thing we have to lose is time and whatever time takes with it. Worrying about putting yourself out there is not a worthwhile concern. It’s more of a worry to sit on the bench when you know you’d rather be out on the field. Basically, I’m here for brave vulnerability – in whatever form it takes.

Celeste with her framed prints.

Stay up to date with Celeste on Instagram (_celestejacobs). Her photographic prints are available from A4 to A2 and can be ordered by sending her a direct message. Read some of the stories Celeste has written for VISI here.