Staging a Self Portrait Story in Cape Town

This story was a love letter to my van. She was alternately called “Madame” or “The Beast”, and she housed a photographer in Cape Town.

When I decided to work my first photography season as an assistant in Cape Town, I bought a van and lived in it. This was in 2013, before Vanlife was a thing. I kept coming back, season for season, always moving back into my van. When I was off, I would adventure outside the city, take it on kitesurfing expeditions, or just camp in a friend’s back yard. The most adventurous public place I ever slept in, was Kalk Bay harbour. I gave the carguard a good tip and some strong coffee, and all went well. Don’t try this at home.

While on a job, I would camp in my aunt’s or uncle’s back yard closer in the city. Sometimes, if turnaround time was too short, I wouldn’t even bother driving anywhere. I would park Madame in the service entrance of the client’s hotel, shower in the collection room, and get a few more minutes of sleep. I could even monitor the process of my uploads through the hotel’s WIFI from the comfort of my own bed (don’t tell any of the production companies).

Portrait of a woman sitting at the wheel of her vw camper van smiling. Her hair is blowing in the wind. Shot as part of a self portrait story by Cape Town Photographer Jessica Zumpfe

Young woman sitting in her underwear in her camper van, gazing thoughtfully out of the window. Shot as part of a selfportrait story by Cape Town photographer Jessica Zumpfe
Young outdoor model sitting at the steering wheel of her vw camper van, gazing thoughtfully out of the window.
Young woman drinks coffee in her underwear at the door of her camper van. Her hair is wild. Photographed as part of a self portrait story by Cape Town photographer Jessica Zumpfe
A girl sitting next to her van both enjoying the view over the ocean at misty cliffs in cape town.