Mike Hutchings

Mike Hutchings

Based
Cape Town, South Africa
Born
London, United Kingdom
Status
Photographer
Camera
Canon 5D Mark II, 1DX
“My biggest lesson has been not to take anything for granted.”

Beat

I shoot a range of news and sports stories, social, political and environmental issues, and feature photography.

One Shot

. Marikana, South Africa. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings
A striking mineworker holds an umbrella near the Marikana mine in South Africa's North West Province, during weeks of unrest after 34 striking platinum workers were shot dead by police in South Africa's bloodiest post-apartheid labour incident.
“I was documenting the fallout after the shooting at South Africa’s Marikana mine, when there was a hailstorm in the field where the striking workers were gathering. The miners scattered, but I saw this guy standing alone under an umbrella against a backdrop of ominous clouds in the midst of the incredibly harsh landscape. For me, the image says something about how exposed South Africa still is, almost two decades after its first democratic elections.”

Profile

My earliest memory of photography is a Kodak instamatic camera that my sister had when I was about 5 years old. I borrowed it and went to a game park, where I shot some terrible pictures of the animals and my friends.

Like many photojournalists, I have no formal training. I largely taught myself photography in a darkroom at school.

My first photo assignment was for the paper at the University of Cape Town, where I studied. I had to shoot images of climbers attempting to master a tricky overhang on an artificial climbing wall. Mostly they fell off. It made for quite good pictures.

While at university, I began taking photos of protests and political events in the 1980s before the end of apartheid rule. My training in social anthropology left me with a keen interest in how society works. After completing my degree, photojournalism seemed like a logical progression.

It’s hard to say which assignment has left the biggest mark on me. Covering the first democratic elections in South Africa was really inspiring. One of the most challenging stories, however, has been dealing with the effects of HIV/AIDS in rural areas of South Africa.

The assignments I like best are the ones that give you the chance to change people’s perceptions and challenge stereotypical ways of understanding complex situations.

My biggest lesson has been not to take anything for granted. As photojournalists, we walk in and out of different worlds and we need to remember that our own reality is not necessarily the same as the reality that other people have to deal with. The world is infinitely more complicated than the way we perceive it.

Behind the Scenes

Graaff Reinet, South Africa
Reuters photographer Mike Hutchings shoots pictures by the side of the road in Graaff Reinet while covering a story about fracking in South Africa.