I challenge myself to create images which are unique and emotive.
All my photographs are taken on tour with Georg Erb.
All Namibia photography tours are guided in English and/or German.
PHOTOGRAPHY TOURS: www.swakoptour.com
SWAKOP TOUR COMPANY: Georg Erb - email@example.com
Xenia Ivanoff-Erb, was born in South Africa to a German mother and a Don Cossack father, the well known South African political cartoonist, singer and artist Victor Ivanoff.
After completing her schooling in Johannesburg in the mid 80’s she went on to study a BA in Fine Arts degree at Rhodes University, Grahamstown, where she majored in Graphic Art. She admits that art for her was never a matter of “art for art sake”, it was during her studies that Xenia’s interest grew more towards commercial art and specifically towards logo and brand design. At Rhodes she also studied photography, under the guidance of the reknown photographer, Obie Oberholtzer who was her lecturer for an entire year. However, Xenia says “in those years photography was not deemed a “real career” and my parents were adamant “advertising was my calling”.
Alongside her artistic talents Xenia was also a successful sportswoman, and she has a deep rooted love for sports and it was due to this passion that she was approached in the early nineties to redesign the South African national emblem of the springbok and create a new emblem namely the “Protea”. In the early years of the new democratic era in South Africa she got the opportunity to grow as a graphic artist, and after creating the prestigious new emblem and it’s application to the National Sports Council brand, she then worked on the design of the logo for the Ministry for Sport and Recreation. This was a dream come true for her as it was a perfect combination of design and sports at the highest possible level.
As her client base grew so the graphic design demands changed towards designing more for corporate business, branding and developing logo’s. This was the time when she learned to appreciate the true value of branding, and that not only did the graphic design of the document need to be well balanced and written, but without a well designed logo and good quality photographic images the document would never provide the market appeal that it was meant to have. So she took her first steps into the world of photography and bought her first digital camera which was a Minolta Dynax, and that is how she started to photograph more and more products and commercial work for clients.
Prior to the kick-off to the 2010 World Cup South Africa, Xenia applied to do volunteer work at the event and was fortunate enough to be selected to work at Soccer City throughout the World Cup. Her role as volunteer was to join the team on VIP Protocol services. The event was incredibly exciting for her and not only did she get to meet some high ranking politicians and leaders but she also spent time with film stars such as Morgan Freeman and soccer star Miroslav Klose, who she accompanied during his time in the VIP Suite. The spectacular event provided many photographic opportunities for her and it was during this time that she bought her first Canon DSLR camera. “That was when my great love of photography really began, I’m not sure if it was the excitement of the event or the spectacular quality of images that I managed to capture with my Canon, but it was the started of my photographic journey”.
My Photographic Journey
In 2010 a close friend, invited me to join her family on their annual holiday to Swakopmund, Namibia. As I witnessed my first setting sun over the gravel desert, it felt like a new world opened before me. Swakopmund captured my imagination on so many levels but it was the beauty which surrounded me ultimately pushed me to go and discover more and I made a decision which changed my life path forever. In 2012 we married and I moved to Swakopmund to start a new life with my soul mate. Our journey, together, has taken us on so many interesting paths, my husband, Georg, is a renown Namibian tour guide and photographer and he relishes every opportunity of showing me new places. We eagerly travel far and wide to make new discoveries and capture special moments on camera, both alone and with photography tours.
I try hard to challenge myself and to establish my own unique style, I enjoy learning from others, and I follow a number of photographic icons who inspire me to improve my work each day: I enjoy the light and character of Paul van Schalkwyk’s distinctive Namibian and I specially love the gentle beauty of the Namibian landscape paintings created by Arnfried Blatt. These artists as well as the incredibly beautiful photo’s produced by Michael Poliza have influenced me in my journey so far.
My favorite genre is landscape photography, but I also enjoy to tell a story so the commissions we have received to photograph lodges for marketing purposes are really where my heart lies. I‘m passionate about being able to capture the essence of a place and to find a way of making that into a photo journey which will capture the imagination of someone living elsewhere in the world and to entice them to travel to Namibia. I always try to create images which stir an emotion in the viewer, I want to make them feel the same way I feel while taking that photograph. I always shoot RAW and therefore I need to edit, I try my best to bring to life what I saw and to bring the beauty which I saw in the image to life, and I always try to be honest in my edits. I do like to be creative, but not surreal in my work.
In 2016, I was privileged to have my work selected by the German / Namibian Society, to be exhibited in Germany. I have had 4 exhibitions during the past 14 months both in Berlin and in Frankfurt. The German Embassy has sponsored the exhibition and uses the exhibit as part of an on going marketing campaign to educate and inform the public about Namibia and the mostly unknown cultures of the Topnaar (Nama) people. The exhibit captures the essence of the daily life of the people living along the Kuiseb River Valley and is Titled KUISEBNamibia.
More of my work can be viewed, as well as more information pertaining to the Namibian nature and photography tours which my husband Georg offers, throughout Namibia:
Ich wurde in Südafrika als Tochter einer Deutschen und eines russischen Don-Kosaken, Victor Ivanoff (berühmter Künstler, Karikaturist und Sänger), geboren und wuchs in einem von der Kunst geprägten Umfeld auf.
"Nach ihrem Schulabschluss in Johannesburg schloss Xenia in den 80er-Jahren ein Studium an der Rhodes Universität in Grahamstown mit dem Bachelor of Fine Arts ab. Dort belegte sie auch einige Semester Fotografie, u. a. mit dem bekannten Fotografen Obie Oberholtzer als Lehrer. Ihr Elternhaus sah in der Fotografie keine berufliche Perspektive. So arbeitete Xenia über zwanzig Jahre lang als Werbegrafikerin in Johannesburg, durchaus mit Erfolg, entwickelte großes Interesse am Entwerfen von Logos und Markenzeichen im visuellen Erscheinungsbild und in der Identität von Firmen und Produkten. Besonders bemerkenswert beispiels-weise: Xenia entwarf das offizielle südafrikanische National-Emblem, die „Protea“.
Verheiratet mit Georg Erb, lebt Xenia seit Ende 2012 in Swakopmund / Namibia. Hier hinterlässt sie im künstlerischen Leben des Landes zunehmend ihre eigenen, vor allem fotografischen Spuren, ob in Zeitschriften oder Ausstellungen. Als ihr letzter Erfolg gilt die Foto-Schau „Namibia Inspirations“, mit der sie zum Jahreswechsel 2015 / 2016 ein breites Publikum begeisterte.
„KUISEB Namibia“ war dann ihre erste Werkschau in Deutschland vom 28. Mai bis 24. Juli 2016 in der BrotfabrikGalerie Berlin-Weißensee.
Die 20 Fotografien zum Volk der Topnaar-Nama, die am Rande der Wüste Namib und dem Trockenfluss Kuiseb leben, sind Xenias Beitrag zu dieser Ausstellung. Hierzu schreibt sie: „Etwas versteckt, verborgen in unserem ‘Hinterhof‘, dem großen Sandkasten Namib, liegt ein grüner, baumumsäumter Streifen, der Trockenfluss Kuiseb. Eine faszinierende Vielfalt an großartigen Landschaftsformen und eine besondere Tierwelt bieten dem interessierten Naturfreund besondere Anregung.
An zahlreichen Wochenenden, wenn es an der Küste, besonders im Winter, tagelang, manchmal wochenlang nebelig und kalt bleibt, zieht es uns in die sonnige Ein-samkeit der Wüstenlandschaften. Manchmal verbringen wir die Nachmittage auf der Suche nach Halb-Edelsteinen wie Achat oder Granat. Manchmal gehen wir auf stundenlange Wanderungen in das terrakotta-gefärbte Dünenmeer (das 2013 zum UNE-SCO-Weltnaturerbe proklamiert wurde).
Immer ist die Kamera dabei. Und immer fällt es uns nicht leicht, die schönsten oder spannendsten Motive herauszufinden. Hin und wieder begegnen wir Oryx-Antilopen, Vogel-Strauß, Springböcken. Eine Vielfalt an kleinerem Krabbel-Getier ist tagsüber meistens im Sand versteckt.