John Pauling and Patrick Flanagan are presenting a four part photography workshop in Durban in late November. The course is specifically designed to cater to all levels of photographers. Bring your cameras and lenses, we’ll be doing practical assignments on the course.



John and Pat have been working as professional photographers since the seventies.

Working in Durban, you have to be an all-rounder to survive the rigors of small town mentality. Four decades behind the lens and they’re still fully active .

Nowadays, John runs an full tilt studio with all the bells and whistles required to create magic for national brands. His experience and creative ability in all kinds of photography is unmatched. Been there done it!

Patrick’s work gravitates around the ocean, fashion, beach culture and surfing. That’s his first love. He’s has however, done the hard yards as a freelance photographer over decades of diverse assignments for brands, agencies and industrial and clothing clients.

Both guys have pulled time where the real energy flows like a river, in Johannesburg.

Their experience is diverse and vast. More than enough to be able to enhance your skills at every level, no matter what your particular photographic passion might be.


A four evening course.


For the full course details


Why I’m a photographer

After a few years obtaining my PhD in Space Cadetism at Maritzburg varsity my old man got tired of financing my astral travels and yanked me back to earth by setting me up with a job that consisted of watching computer reels spinning at night for a large construction outfit in Joburg.

My parents had moved up there and so as I had no source of income I was obliged to stay with them but I could see absolutely no future in having my social life hindered by any form of employment after conventional business hours.

Anyway, perusing the Star classifieds employment column one day I saw that the Star was looking for a layout artist.

I had no idea what a layout artist was but it sounded cool and I could draw a bit so what the hell, I phoned for an interview and went in armed with cartoons (bad), paintings (bad), sketches (bad) and just for the hell of it, a few photographs (not too bad).

It soon became apparent that me and layout artisting were not to be but the guy said I should go see the picture editor because he’d heard they were looking for a photographer; now THAT sounded cool to me and a brief brainfart occurred that I should go get some decent pix before I applied.

I made an appointment for the following day (a Friday) with the picture editor and went down the road to a mate who had briefly worked as a photographer on the Rand Daily Mail and “borrowed” some of his pics that he assured me nobody would have seen.

Friday I’m at the Star, interview, usual questions, portfolio perused and then “great you got the job, when can you start?”

“Beginning of the month is fine with me!” I said cheerily..

“No, how about Monday?” he said..

“Great!!” I exclaimed and began to die inside.., I knew zip about photography.

Brainfart number 2.

I left the Star and went over to the Jhb reference library across the road.

Now you can’t take books out of the reference library which was a problem; it was about 3 pm and they closed at 4 for the weekend.

I want to the old duck in charge and spilt my heart out to her, I had no other option.

She glared at me over the top of her glasses for what seemed like for ever then just broke up laughing and got on the phone to her mates in the library.

They were down stairs in 2 seconds cackling and wheezing and ruffling my hair (it was ’73 so I had a lot of it..).

I went home with about 20 photographic how to books, spent the weekend learning like I should have at varsity and on Monday became a photographer..

I spent about 3 years at the Star, some of the best photographic years of my life. I hated Joburg and used to commute to Durbs for a wave on my Honda CR250 motocross bike with my board on a home made rack on the side; dozens of stories there..

Press photography back then was the ultimate adrenalin rush; competing for the best pic at any scene with at least 8 other photographers; again stories aplenty there.

I then got “poached” by a large PR firm and that’s when I got to see how the other photographic world lived.

We had serious clients, I’m talking the biggest corporate names in the country and we were all about image (and good photography of course); nothing was limited. 

We had 2 models in the studio all day every day in case they were needed, we had equipment to die for, a studio that could take 3 cars nose to tail on the infinity curve.

Props or accessories? We just went out and bought them, no budget restrictions, we even had a clothing account at a very trendy mens shop in Hillbrow because we wore 3 piece suits all the time; seriously all the time. Rand Mines was one of our clients and we went down coal mines in cream 3 piece suits… (they were fashionable back then)

A few years later an opening in the Durban office popped up which I grabbed with both hands, my bike and my surfboard (and then wife and 2 year old daughter)

Arrived in ’76 I think it was just in time for the Gunston and headed off to the beach armed with my trusty Nikon F and a Novoflex 450-600mm pistol grip zoom. Shot a bunch of B/W pics and thought what should I do with them, maybe somebody would like them so I headed off to Larmont Surf and said who could I give them to. At that stage I didn’t know that was the home of ZigZag but Barry Wolins stuck his head around the back and shouted for Paul Naude to come.

There was a sort of mumbled conversation at the door and Paul perused the pics. Another shout and the Godfather Lammo came out, another shout and a few more guys came out. More mumblings, hmmms, etc then Paul says “They’re OK, how much for one?”

I said “Huh? Just give them to the guys, I’m not selling them..”
From then on I became ZigZag’s official B/W photographer.

A year or two later a bunch of us “formed” Fineline Action Photography, a not too serious photographic group I think to make us look cool.
Hell of a good idea at the time, bylines in Zag and other magazines, never made a cent but my employer (the PR crowd) saw the picture of the 4 of us at the Bay with their equipment prominently featured and I got my employment terminated…

Found a job at the Natal Mercury and loved being back in press work, especially in Durbs. Progressed to Chief Photographer and then moved on to open a commercial studio for the group, pulling a few of my old clients from the PR crowd who had subsequently folded (nothing to do with me)

That went OK for a while but I tend to be difficult with corporate establishment employers and in ‘83 went on my own.

35 years later I look back and don’t regret a single moment. Financially not a gold mine but I’ve always kept my (and my family’s) head above water.

I’ve had a huge cross section of clients, had difficult ones, happy ones, short relationships, long ones and wouldn’t change any of them except one which I’ll keep to myself….

I’ve kept up with technology and had a lot of fun doing so. 

I was the second photographer in the country to go full digital, a friend in Cape Town got his camera two weeks before me so he’s No 1. We were also some of the earliest digital guys in the whole Southern hemisphere; had guys from all over the world checking us out.

Moving into digital was a big change and I feel privileged to have experienced both dimensions and the learning curves associated with them. From learning to load sheet film into a 4x5 back, processing transparency film right through to tweaking colour curves in Photoshop, it’s a trip you can’t describe properly unless you’ve been there.

My biggest regret? Not keeping a decent portfolio of my work right from the start.



“I’m more interested in the people and the spaces in surfing as I am in high action and perfect waves.”

Pat Flanagan has been shooting surf photographs for 40 years. Besides working in other fields, his passion is in recording the ocean and those who play in it. His work has been published in numerous international surf magazines and books.

“For the first twenty years, my sole purpose was to get my pictures published in glossy magazines.”

“I started in 75 with a Practica SLR and in a few days I was hooked on photography.” Says Pat, then a surfer who worked on the docks in Durban to save up to do surf travel. “That was pretty much the end of my surfing.” The dye was cast.

Before long he had an Olympus OM1 the first of many Olympus cameras, a brand he used for the next 36 years. In 76 he bought a 650mm Century lens from world renowned photographer, Dan Merkel and that became his standard lens for the next 15 years. At one time or other he has shot with Hasselblad, Sinar, Horseman, Nikon and a few others. For the last few years he’s being using Canon.

Besides a career in marketing and graphic design, he has always been more than just a surf photographer. With editorial and advertising photography he has shot everything from Huisgenoot covers to food to CD and music tape sleeves. “I’m fascinated by doing industrial stuff. There’s so much scope for creativity.” Pat goes on. Fashion photography is another path he has been along, doing spreads for number national and international mags. Instinct, Gotcha, Jockey and Bear International were on his books for years.

During an 8 year absence from the ocean and living in Johannesburg, he spent almost a year shooting wild life pictures commercially. “This was the last big shout of film cameras. I was on a rig that comprised of a couple of Nikon F5’s and a gorgeous 400mm F2.8 Nikkor telephoto that is probably the best lens I’ve used to date. While in the Big Smoke, he taught photography and sports photography at Universal Images, a photographic retail chain.

An ‘out of blue’ trip to the Mentawais made him realise just what was missing in his life. “Something big was missing in my life – the ocean. Going to Indo brought me back to reality, I called my wife Jenny from the boat on the first night in the islands and within three months we were back in Durban,”

Besides surf photography and journalism, he has worked as a marketing executive for a national retail chain, a graphic designer and copywriter in advertising agencies and presently designing Web sites and does on-line marketing for national and international clients.

The one thread that runs through all his day to day activities is photography.

To view Pat’s surfing work go to


Sign Up!

Full Frame’s


Photograpy Course

A series of four workshop evenings.


Wednesday 21st November 2018

Thursday 22nd November 2018

Wednesday 28th November 2018

Thursday 29th November 2018



+(27) 73 96 00 158




From its beginnings as a photography gear and printing shop, Cape Town photography giant Orms has become an extensive creative franchise.

The Orms vision has always been to provide South African professional and amateur photographers alike with the best and latest gear at reasonable prices, and to stock the largest range of products.


Other Websites

Breezehill Digital Media

Based in Kloof, a suburb of Durban, South Africa, Breezehill Digital Media is an Internet marketing and communications enterprise that designs, builds, manages and hosts Web sites for partner/clients.

pat flan.co.za

Patrick Flanagan’s photography Web site.