Behind the lens

Elsa Bleda: Finding light, finding home


Elsa Bleda



Where are you Based?

Johannesburg, South Africa.

How do you make a living?

I work as an art director, photographer and actress.

What camera do you use?

Mostly Canon 5d mark II.

How has travel made an impact on your life?

I believe that exploring, discovering new places, meeting new cultures and hearing their stories make you grow as a person. Broadens your perspective. It is inspiring and definitely exciting. Keeps you young(:

What is your relationship to travel/adventure, and what does it mean to you?
My family loved traveling and adventures when I was a kid. I grew up in different places. I still love traveling and discovering places for the first time. There is so much beauty and thrill in it. I feel like a child when I travel, I love that feeling.

Arriving in Cape Town after a few days of a really fun road trip that started in Johannesburg. The sun was setting and the colors were beautiful as usual. This was such an odd little cloud that made me really laugh, I took this image from the car.

Sitting on a rooftop in Johannesburg, August 2016. Such a calm and beautiful scene. James Blake’s Overgrown started playing in my mind when I saw it; ‘Time passes in the constant state’.

Road trips and Cape Town sunsets.. Cape Town always has the best colors when it comes to sunsets.

I know everything about you.. // Driving through foggy Cape Town. April and May have always been my favorite months in Cape Town. All the mist and fog turn this city into a magical place. I took this on our way back from a shoot. Somewhere after Muizenberg.

Misty Cliffs, Cape Town, 2015. One of my favorite places in the world since I was a teenager. The first place I’ve fell in love with after moving to South Africa. The smell of ocean, the mist, the mountains and huge rocks.

Passing through Karoo, South Africa. This was our second day on the train, we were shooting a music video. Woke up to a rainy weather. I’ve always loved train travels but never experienced rain while traveling. Magical. It was around 6.30am on a September morning, a few days after my birthday last year. We were drinking coffee and watching the mountains as we waited for the camera to set up. I took this photo when my friend Adam reached out to the window from his bed.

Years ago, driving through Muizenberg in Cape Town on a cold winter morning.

From my On The Train series in South Africa. 2015. There is a comfort in sitting in a diner on a train, have some coffee and watch everything pass. I try to do this as much as possible.

Riding bikes through Cape of Good Hope. My favorite thing to do in the city. It was a windy day but it didn’t bother us. We rode bikes, took so many photographs. It was a happy day and I sometimes wish I could go back to that day.

“That’s sad. How plastic and artificial life has become. It gets harder and harder to find something real.” // Self portrait, Cape Town.