Who is Warwick Saint?
I know what you’re thinking. And yes, that is my real name.
So who am I? Well, let’s start at the beginning. I grew up in South Africa, surrounded by the photo industry since I was little boy. Some of my earliest memories are of my mum walking the catwalk and modeling on photo shoots. It was the mid-70’s—the days of soft filters and stockings over the lens—not that I had any idea at the time.
My dad was a graphic designer, and growing up, I used to work in his office on school holidays. When I was 17, he was tragically killed in a car crash. Being right at the cusp of deciding where I wanted to further my studies, his death had a profound effect on me, actually turning me away from graphic design and towards photography. I felt it was important to pursue my own path, outside of my father’s shadow (he was very well-renowned in the field of graphic design).
I knew a lot of photographers, and many of them had been mentors to me, so photography felt like a natural fit. I went to University and studied Philosophy and Art History, and assisted on lots of photo shoots whenever I could. At 23, I headed to London, and slogged it out through the rain and crappy weather as a freelance assistant.
Six years later, at 28, it was time to make the break. I teamed up with a stylist friend and we pounded the streets, taking test prints and one sheet story treatments to every newspaper supplement in London. We were “winging it” to say the least. Finally, we got our first real chance, when we managed to secure 6 commissions from the weekly newspapers for the total amount of 12000 pounds budget (2000 each). It was a no brainer for them as they got a location shoot in SA for the same cost as a studio shoot in london.
With the accumulated budget we took the crew down to South Africa, where we shot “Elephant Boy.” That job turned out to be the one that launched my career. And the rest, as they say is history.