Around the world in 60 years

Gunther Komnick of Pinelands will host his latest exhibition Impressions Around The World next week at the Artscape Theatre.

Award-winning photographer, lithographer and graphic artist Gunther Komnick, 87, of Pinelands, will exhibit his body of work captured over the last 60 years at the Artscape Theatre next week.

The exhibition, Impressions Around The World, will begin on Tuesday November 8 and will run until Sunday November 27 in the marble foyer extension of the theatre.

Komnick’s inspiration comes from recording scenes out of daily life. “Each person has a different character, identity and look. I enjoy capturing how they live and express themselves,” he said.

The white-haired artist’s tranquil nature is evident in the unvarnished photographs taken in Morocco, Peru, Vietnam, India, Namibia and many other locations, including Cape Town.

“My pictures show my audience a view of the outside world,” he explained.

He was born in 1929 and experienced a tumultuous early life in Insterburg, in the former German province of East Prussia.

Komnick comes from a long line of artists and tells the Tatler his father, Albert, was a famous painter who became ill and later died as a result of the atrocities and separation his family endured during World War II.

“Everyone follows their own instinct and urge and creates what they want to express,” he says of his family’s artistic legacy.

During his youth, he dug anti-tank trenches, and between the ages of 15 and 18 he, along with his mother and sister, were forced into a Russian labour camp.

Komnick says he avoids capturing “posed pictures” as they appear “superficial” and aren’t completely representative of the subject’s natural environment.

Over the last 50 years, he has travelled extensively in southern Africa, Egypt, the Middle East and Zanzibar. He has three children: Christiaan, Kela and Colleen.

He arrived in South Africa in 1956. “I previously lived in Switzerland, and I came to South Africa because I wanted to live in a place where there was relative sunshine for 365 days of the year. I wanted to experience something new.”

Graphic designer Wendy Worrall, who has worked with him for the past 30 years, says he enjoys looking at the unique beauty of people.

His vast career has seen him lend his hand to illustrating more than eight children’s books. Commenting on how he keeps his creative fire burning, he says: “I live from day to day and to be creative one must constantly create. I have am intrinsically motivated to explore the unknown and bring out the beauty in ordinary things. I illustrate childrens books to inspire their vision.”

Komnick’s accolades include winning the CP Hoogenhout gold medal twice for his children’s book illustrations and being a lifetime associate of the prestigious Royal Photographic Society.

He hopes the public who visit his free exhibition will be able to take away a piece of authentic life in action.

Call the Artscape Theatre at 021 410 9800 for details.