Meet Brian van Hansen – the cellphone camera guy
We’ve been sharing a lot of Cape Town photographer Brian van Hansen’s photos, so we thought we’d find out a bit more about him. When we called him up for a chat we had already seen his inspiring photos of the city and local landscapes, but what we didn’t know was that Brian doesn’t use a professional digital camera – he shoots everything with a cellphone!
In fact, Brian is becoming known as “the guy with the cellphone camera.” When we ask him why he doesn’t use a conventional camera he says he never really intended to be a professional photographer, he just enjoyed cycling around the city taking pictures with his phone and then posting them immediately to social media. “It’s all about the sharing,” he says. This really took off when he started a Facebook group where people could post their own photos.
“I’m passionate about the group and the response it gets. People get such great feedback on their pics it empowers them to take more.”
The success of the Facebook group has led to Brian getting booked to do professional photo shoots – but once again he mostly just uses his cellphone. “The phone has an interesting effect on the subjects,” says Brian. “It makes them feel more at ease … like I’m not this intimidating guy with a big camera coming to do a shoot. It’s just like taking snaps, so people relax.”
This relaxed vibe lets Brian capture angles and subjects that others might miss. If he needs to edit a photo he does it all in the phone using the basic photo tools available. It’s all about seeing an opportunity, snapping it, and posting it – keeping it simple and in-the-moment.
Everybody probably wants to know what phone he uses – and it seems he’s hooked on Samsung, choosing to use either a KZoom or a Note Edge.
When Brian is not out taking pictures, he’s busy at his ‘day job’ as a piano player. At the moment he has regular gigs at the Queen Victoria Hotel in the Waterfront and the Strand Tower Hotel in the city, where he plays pop, light classics and jazz.
And if you’re wondering why he sometimes signs his pictures “Beach Bats Brian” or “Brian Bats”, it’s because he’s also well known for playing beach bats on Clifton beach in summer. Beach Bats Brian, the cellphone camera guy.