The 21st of February 2016, what would most likely be a regular day for most was a day we constantly talk about, reference and use as motivation to keep going. Our first experience of being thrown in the ‘fashion’ deep end. The adrenaline, intimidating crowds and fast paced nature of it all felt all too surreal to a pair of young, overly excited photographers. At the end of the night, 1500 photos later was when it all started. Our brainchild became our business.
Half & Halve is a Cape Town based media duo specializing in fashion photography. The name ‘Half & Halve’ describes two halves forming a whole. This is representative of owners/brothers Shakeel & Tash Toefy whom much like the words ‘half’ and ‘halve’, they share similar interests but are two completely different facets that both play a crucial role in the operation of the business. We are the faces behind the glass, we are Half & Halve.
Since inception, our idea was always to market ourselves as professionals regardless of our age or experience. The most important thing to us was to make people believe that we knew what we were doing even when we didn’t. With a few bookings under our belt we were slowly starting to grow our confidence. Shooting on set, directing models & capturing moments became second nature as the newcomer nerves disappeared.
We began conceptualizing our own concepts and turning our ideas into visual stories as a way for us to experiment with various techniques & improve our photographs. Through our infatuation with the fashion industry, a career in this field was inevitable. It always been a dream for both of us and building a platform that allows self-expression and operates as a profitable business is something we’ve always hoped to achieve.
Our goal has always been more than just making money. It is to build an inclusive platform that represents South African culture through thought provoking projects, visual stories and photographs. A platform that allows young creatives the opportunity to nurture their talents, work alongside fellow creatives and realize that the South African industry is in need of these creative minds to assist in the longevity of South African Fashion. Something that we learnt early on was the importance of networking and collaboration, which has helped us through every aspect of our journey. Through this process we have met many talented and inspiring individuals who have all contributed to our journey in some way, be it business advice, photography tips, criticism or support.
The past two years has seen our brand grow exponentially with recognition from designers, reputable brands, influencers and celebrities. What most people don’t see is the countless late nights, meetings and strategy sessions that is required to keep our work relative and authentic. Authenticity is a fundamental aspect of success as many people focus on replication rather than self admiration. The industry and photography specifically is not as glamourous as many people might think. It is a craft that can never be entirely perfected, forcing you to study the art of not only your glass but your introspective self.
The next few years are going to be crucial for us in terms of positioning our brand in the market but we are confident in our abilities and plan to continue studying the art that is fashion photography. We have many people to thank for the success we have achieved over the past two years and look forward to being behind the glass for decades to come.
Half & Halve, you may forget the faces but you’ll remember the name.
Photographer: Rizqua Barnes