My life started on the 13th July 1980 courtesy of Emlyn and Christine Pass. My siblings who beat me into the world are Graham, Duane and Sharon.
I have such a vague memory of the first few chapters of my life growing up in Kempton Park (Johannesburg, South Africa) but I do remember them to be happy.
At age 9 our family and I lost our father (husband) in a car accident, I was so blessed to have an amazing mother, family and church to help us cope and continue life.
After school I furiously started working any jobs (CNA, petrol attendant, courier, car rental etc) I could to buy air tickets as I had decided that before I turned 21 I would see 6 continents (which sounded a little grander than it was, as I was living on one already).
It started in Brazil which was life changing. Also where I discovered espresso coffee (which started a bout of insomnia which took me almost 5 years to diagnose and fix).
I then studied in Cambridge (UK) for a short while after a quick conticki type dash through Europe with some very close friends.
That part of my travel was instrumental in my career, as the ‘point and shoot’ camera (get out and push type ) that I had potted around Europe with had almost completely left me memory-less.
Out of necessity a friend, Andy (thank you where-ever you are) who worked in a camera store in Cambridge help me buy my first camera (Pentax MZ50 if I’m right).
He also spent a day with me teaching me a little about lenses and stuff as we wondered around beautiful Cambridge (which basically was my total apprenticeship).
Before I returned back to South Africa, 2 very close friends (Keith and Sue) sponsored me a trip to California. And while my pining for home and love made me wasteful in my time there (sorry K & S) they encouraged me so much regarding my photography – for which I am forever grateful.
The countless international flights I boarded and waited for on my own in these years I believe sparked my love for people. Airports are great place t see people in a true and often vulnerable state.
It must have been late 2001, early 2002 when my world got turned upside down with the splitting up with my long term high school romance – in true artistic over-dramatic style, I had – what I still call – my ‘quarter life crisis’.
This crisis within a matter of weeks had me quit my job, pack up everything I owned (not a lot), get a 3 year work visa, find a new job and immigrated to New Zealand (talk about over reacting).
I had some of my Mom’s brothers and sisters to call family in Auckland for the next 3 and a bit years.
My broken heart and insomnia I fear didn’t make me the best company in that time – but I remember it fondly none the less.
My Uncle Arnold gave me some more pointers on photography, and I bought my First Nikon which reignited my passion for stopping time.
I started photographing some friends and weddings, but mostly planned photo weekends for myself where I would drive out aimlessly into the country for a few days and shoot whatever I saw.
It was also when I met a very successful portrait photographer (Stuart Riddel) and whereas we never worked or shot together (despite him very graciously letting me live with his amazing family for a short while) he inspired me to take photography seriously ( thank you thank you thank you).
When I decided to return to South Africa (2005 I think) I stopped in Australia for a while with some family – it was one of the most clarifying and levelling times I can remember (didn’t hurt that by then I had conquered my insomnia).
Returning home was such an important thing for me.
It’s like I had been given new eyes to see the beauty of my family and my country. I was really really happy to be home (and still am).
Over the next couple years I began to shoot lots and lots more weddings and started dabbling in fashion/portfolio photography.
It was in June 2008 that I met my beautiful wife (Storm) and by almost at the same time finally made my passion my full time career.
Just one year later, shooting a wedding in Spain, we got engaged and later in Dec of 2009 we were married (funny how just a few sentences on this page represent some of the most significant and special happening of my whole life).
We were so blessed to travel for our honeymoon and return (uber old fashioned) to move in together for the first time into our new home.
The new home (in Kensington JHB) has a wonderful space for my studio and business to grow. Which it did, leading me more and more into the advertising and commercial world of photography (still doing a lot of modelling portfolios and monthly or wedding or so).
God has been good to me and I can’t take credit or explain why my business and life has gone so good to this point.
Last year (14th June 2011) when Storm and I were blessed with a healthy son – Gabriel Emlyn Malcolm Pass – truly truly Blessed.
And that’s where this biography becomes real time.
Thank you for reading this (supposing you got this far and didn’t skip straight to the end).
And thank you if you are one of the thousands and thousands of people who have shown me kindness, beauty, discipline, guidance or friendship over the years (whether you’re mentioned or not).