Damien Grivas @ Afrikaburn 2015 | Kyle Goulden Photography

2015 : An Uncomfortable Year in Review

Whelp. There goes another year out before it felt like it even began. Sheer insanity I tell you.

However, its was no doubt an incredible year in many many ways. People have come and gone for the right reasons and opportunities too, with only the good ones hanging around for a coffee and biscotti. But more so,  for one simple reason : it was uncomfortable. Horribly uncomfortable.

What could I mean by that, and how could uncomfortable be a good thing ? If you’ve ever sat on a plastic garden chair for 3 hours watching a “talent” show, you might be scratching your head.

Namely, this year was a challenge in many ways.  Things I had not ever tried before,  taking a long hitus on my photography and film work, aside from one or two side projects, but nothing with full body and soul investment, close people leaving my life and new people becoming close people, taking a leap from safety into the unknown and semi-failing and more than anything, is looking at my work and questioning what it is that I like and don’t like and being uncomfortable with “myself” to challenge that and grow.

So many times did I feel “overwhelmed” in both good and bad ways, with great opportunities and the pressure of making something epic, as well as smaller personal things that felt like mountains, when they are really anthills. However those moments taught me as much this year as the great big things.

But what did the year hold ?

Bradley Africa | Kyle Goulden Photography


As every year comes around, new shoots come around and no doubt keep you on your toes. With every shoot that came through, there was the challenge of shooting something in a different way.  Or at least, pushing oneself to look at things differently. There were Band shoots, Architecture,  Product and Interiors, a whole lotta Portraits and Commercial projects both with Photography and Video.  How could one not be happy ?

This was where I felt the most uncomfortable, to push oneself to make even more incredible work and walk towards a photographic goal and style, and to value oneself and the work they create in that journey. We will always strive to be better, different and “new and improved” but the journey is as important as the destination.




I saw and petted more dogs this year. #LifeGoal2015Achieved <3Kyle Goulden Photography in Johannesburg South Africa | www.kylegoulden.com


This year started off with the chance to go down to Cape Town so that my lovely boyfriend, Damien, while he worked on some lighting features at a restaurant Rust En Vrede.  While he toiled away making some epicness of his own, I started off with a bit of relaxation and catching up with dear friends, chatting about our various passion projects and just getting a good ol recharge with good people.

A good friend of mine, Grethe, a talented photographer in her own right, helped me organize a small shoot with the lovely Kirsti  and as a challenge to myself, I only used one lens. A R12 second hand film lens that I brought through from Johannesburg.  The challenge was more so to capture the subject in different ways and throw oneself out of their comfort zone.

Kirsti Cheap Lens Challenge | Kyle Goulden

Needless to say it was a unique challenge and one that I enjoyed thoroughly and more-so just hanging out with two incredible people while you play and learn is even more exciting. 🙂

Luci & Alexa @Nicework | Kyle Goulden Photography


Unbeknownst to many people, I started working an incredible agency as an Animator and all-round-video-person called Nicework. More than the break that I was craving from myself and giving time to let my work stew, I wanted to work at a place with new challenges and experiences. The people of Nicework are some of the most unique and talented people that Ive encountered for a long time, and the whole business runs with an almost magical sense of creativity and chance.

Again, within the zone of being comfortable and ensuring growth is always happening, this was the year that I left this wonderful place to push myself further into the world and build constantly on the skills I have already.

Damien Grivas @ Afrikaburn 2015 | Kyle Goulden Photography


Every year, we head into the searingly hot Karoo wilderness to enjoy a couple of days of revelry at Afrikaburn and take our version of a holiday. This has become an annual retreat for us and more so, reminds us of how incredible people can be and the level of creativity that exists within our damn-fine country.  Its a chance to reflect, think, explore, play, be inspired and just be yourself.

Beyond this, however, there was so much more exploration of Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban that I had yet to experience.



As with everything, nothing is certain in this world and the greatest indicator of a clients happiness of your work is getting booked again. With many clients saying a lovely “Hello, are you free on the … ?”, one cant help but get a warm fuzzy feeling. We’ve had the pleasure to work with brands such as Markhams, Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Goet, CreativeMornings, Spar , Discovery Health and many more.


Learning something new might possibly be one of my favourite things to do and really gets me excited and feeling ready to take over the world. Helping people makes me feel the same way. Assisting talented photographers such as Louis Botha and Chris Saunders from Lampost makes me feel all those things and more.  Even more so, watching good friends push themselves with new challenges and succeed also forms a great inspiration to me.

Kat Grudko, Paul David, and their debut Photo and Film Expo Workshops, Greg Rom’s shortfilm, and even dear friends starting new ventures, in life, in love and in their passions all drive a person strongly forward.


For absolutely no logical reason, I started this year like most others. Deadly afraid of public speaking and unsure as to how to fix that.  Being the person that would hold onto their speech during High-School, shaking violently as you try and force yourself through those couple of paragraphs was insane.  However, I do think your high-school classmates are slightly more fussy that most people Ive encountered these days. Ahahah.

However, the year started off with me facing fears and deciding to take on the things that I fear, with public speaking being my number one fear at the time.

This year, I had a massive opportunity to host an 8 week class on DSLR Videography at Vega was one of those moments. Speaking for 3 hours, every week to a class on a subject you are massively passionate about is no doubt a good way to build up courage and learn from ones issues.

Another incredible opportunitiy was to talk at the Photo and Film Expo, hosted by Matt Raven and Chanti Oosthuizen at the DDS Stand this year. My topic this year was “Making Interactive Elements From Photographs” also known as a technique called Parallax.  Many things went wrong that day, with a massive flu kicking my ass, the laptop I was using not having the software and also facing a big fear of talking in front of a crowd.

Something clicked that moment however, and the words flew freely, there was big amounts of laughter and many compliments afterwards

The Catalyst

Now we’ve reached the end of the year, everyone’s tired. Im feeling “off” my game and slightly down thanks to the year reaching an end and wanting to challenge myself more. Then BAM. Entered a short film competition held by PPC ( the cement manufacturers ) called the PPC Imaginairum .  Its something I heard about from my partner for a long time and not really expecting much, I entered thinking, “Ah, chances are slim Ill go through but nothing ventured, eh ? Whats for dinner.. hmmmm…”

Flash forward a couple of weeks and viola, here we are making a film. Nerves and tension and excitedness and the like all ensuing. Its been nothing short of a groundbreaking experience and a wonderfully challenging one and without a doubt something which has shifted the entire mindset Id use to creativity and creating something of this nature.

As a first serious foray into a arthouse styled film, Im sure by no means is it legendary but it has significant meaning to me and the people it involves and will definitely feature soon here on the blawg.

Overall , 2015 heralded a mental shift and an awareness of something that needed to change. ie the way I approach creativity and the means in which I do it.  Too much of 2015 was in my head and not in practice, being uncomfortable, failing and learning.

2016. I’m ready for your lessons and ready to kick ass in a new way. And thanks to all the people that have been a part of the journey. I hope I can assist you in yours too. Lets do things. Be creative and stuff.

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