Dust and Dreams Photography is creative duo Elaine van der Merwe-Louwrens and Steph Louwrens of Mpumalanga, South Africa. Having left the corporate world to pursue their passion full-time, they now shoot fine art wedding, portrait, lifestyle and travel photography, raise cattle and berries, and keep horses on their farm in the African bush. This is their story.
“Steph and I lived in the bush for many many years, we were passionate about wildlife and making a difference. Over time, as the tourist and lodge industry in South Africa exploded, so did our world. The lodge industry became corporate, and being general managers at some of the country’s most luxurious lodges left us feeling somewhat suffocated, drained from the original essence that the bush provided. It left us with no room for creativity, no room for error, no room for breathing. Our souls were being crushed and our hearts were breaking.
We realized that what matters in the end is the life we create in our time, so we both quit our jobs in one day. We waved goodbye to the life we knew for so long, but also to the corporate environment that was draining our creativity.
And so began our journey of living a life well spent, which in our case involves photography and farming. Not only are we wedding, portrait and fine art photographers, but we also raise cattle and strawberries. We now have a life surrounded with what we feel is organic and real, and we get to see our souls come back into our work.
The last year taught us to share our hearts, not only in our photography but in everything we do. Farm living reminds us of all of the privileges that come with staying close to nature. We have been able to surround ourselves with art in all its forms and have been able to express our deep fondness of life and travel through our photography, poetry and the way we spend our days.
We are developing our unique style every day and felt like we went to the moon and back when we came across Rebecca’s presets when we first started out. For weddings we have a softer approach with pops of colour and hints of pastel, and for our art work we like to do darker, moodier images that evoke emotion and a strong feeling of longing.”