Life and Work

Iain was born and raised in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg, South Africa, and matriculated in 1963. He then undertook his SA Navy military service for the next two years, becoming a drummer in a rock band soon after. During this period he travelled to the UK and USA and took an interest to photography.

Iain began taking photographs in 1966 with a borrowed camera and no formal education. Turned out okay, so he pursued the craft further, acquiring as much knowledge as possible and plunging into the deep end.
Around 1971 he became more seriously involved with the advertising industry and opened a studio in Johannesburg. He later moved to London for various periods to absorb the many breakthroughs that were happening, then returning to South Africa to apply what he’d learned- introduced first electronic flash (Balcar) and umbrella which created a point of difference to his images. He acquired larger format cameras, another trend picked up in the UK, such as Calumet 8/10, and around this time worked also with 35mm Nikon to 2 1/4 square Hasselblad to 6x7 Pentax to 4by5 Sinar, etc.
During 1973 he married Diana and saw his first child born, a daughter Heather. His wife a model, his work naturally channelled into fashion and beauty during this period. He opened another, larger studio, and imported the first Strobe Equipment- a lighting system manufactured by a small company in the east End of London, that created the most superb soft high quality light- to
South Africa. Once again his images had a unique look and he became very busy. Having divorced in 1975, he moved to Los Angeles for a period of time before returning to Johannesburg.

In 1981 he remarried, to Marianne, and  based on the strengths of the many print ad campaigns he was involved with was asked to direct his first TV commercial- a used car dealership- The Car Bar. There were stipulations that discouraged actual camera operation in those days and it was only after working in Canada for several years that he was able to get behind the lens. Two sons joined his world in the eighties, Graeme and Grant. Since 1987, Iain has been DOP (Director of Photography) and involved more closely with all aspects of lighting, his greatest passion.
After moving his family to the Cape in 2001, he opened Axis Films, his first TV commercials company. As the digital revolution swept conventional cameras aside and the end of film was imminent, he has made the transition to pixels and adapted to the new world. For the past decade, Iain has made many commercials in many genres while not losing touch with the frozen image. Raised with appreciation for the purity of film and its more tactile qualities, the attraction of stills and exhibition prints remains.
He obtained his first digital camera in 2005 and continues to be amazed at the evolution that the capturing of images has enjoyed during his career.
Iain now concentrates on high-speed television commercials, mostly liquids, working at effective frame rates of 1500fps. And climbing…

Past clients

Air Canada, Appletizer, Audi, Avis, Brandhouse, Carling, Coca Cola, Danone, Dove, Ford, Horlicks, Huggies, Kenwood, KFC, Knorr, Koo, Labatts Beer, Mercedes, Nandos, Nestle foods, Nivea, Old Mutual, Opel, Pannarottis, Rama, SAB, Signal, Tastic, Toyota, Woolworths. Full list available on request.


Many print awards - Clio, Loerie etc. New York Festivals TV gold. List available on request.


Cape Town Creatives