SAE Project 1: Something About Me

SCN_0009.jpg by Siobhon van der Merwe on

When I started this blog it was initially going to be about my photographic journey, music photography and anything related to just photography. I am now studying Film Production at SAE with the idea of specialising in the postproduction side of things.  Part of my course involves writing a blog, so what I originally started here is going to evolve to include my SAE assignments as well – so I guess it still is about a photographic journey, just a little different from my initial visualisation. I look forward to seeing how my progress in film, photography and a blogger develops and grows.

SCN_0010.jpg by Siobhon van der Merwe on

Now to introduce myself in a little more detail.  Most of you know me as Siobhon. What you don’t know is my name should actually be spelt Siobhán, but it was spelt incorrectly on my birth certificate. It’s an Irish name, pronounced phonetically as “shi-vaun”. When my Mom and Dad brought me home from hospital and introduced me to my brother he couldn’t say my name, and he called me Vonnie. The name has stuck and to this day my family, and those who know me well, call me Vonnie.

SCN_0003.jpg by Siobhon van der Merwe on

As you have gathered I have an older brother called Phillip, he is 2 years older than I am. We are very different. He is seriously thechi and almost finished with his 3rd year of mechanical engineering. And yes, I am very proud of him.

SCN_0008.jpg by Siobhon van der Merwe on

SCN_0006.jpg by Siobhon van der Merwe on 500px.comI am a 3rd culture kid. I’ve lived in 5 different countries on 2 different continents. My first stop was the country I was born in, Namibia.  I was born in the capital city of Windhoek, but we lived in a one horse-mining town about 2 hours outside of Windhoek, called Karibib. Then it was a short 3 month stop in Johannesburg where I celebrated my first birthday, before moving to Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya. At the age of 3 we moved to a little African village called Geita on the southern shores of lake Victoria about 100 kilometres west of Mwanza, which was a good 2-hour flight from the capital of Tanzania, Dar es Salaam. We lived in a tent for the first 4 months, which was very exciting for us. I think less exciting for my Mom and Dad till my Dad could build a small cottage for us to live in for the next three years before we moved back home. I was home schooled there till I was 5 and a half. After that we left and returned to my parents home country, South Africa. We lived in Cape Town where I started my first real school, before moving to the United Arab Emirates when I was 9. I have lived here, in Ras al Khaimah for the past 11 years. A long time for us to stay in one place!

SCN_0007.jpg by Siobhon van der Merwe on

SCN_0005.jpg by Siobhon van der Merwe on

I started playing the piano and the violin at the age of 5, but when I moved to the UAE I stopped playing the violin, because there weren’t any teachers that could teach me at the time. We managed to find a wonderful Ukrainian piano teacher who has been teaching me now for the past 10 and a-half years. On the days I don’t come to SAE I teach the piano to young children in RAK. I am now doing my ATCL diploma in concert performance for the piano.

SCN_0002.jpg by Siobhon van der Merwe on

Photography is a big part of my life. Many years ago when I was 9 we went to Global Village with my Aunt and Uncle. I got very bored and wanted to go home. My uncle gave me his small point and shoot camera and told me o take photos for him. That was the last they heard from me till they were ready to go home. When my Dad and my Uncle looked at the photos they both decided I had an eye. I love taking photos of people and my father (who is also quite a good amateur photographer) encouraged me and really introduced me to photography over the next few years. I love taking photos of people and concerts. I started getting into music photography at the age of 13 where I took my first concert photographs at the Dubai Desert Rock Festival with my Dad’s old camera.

Concert Crowds by Siobhon van der Merwe on

The academic side of school has always been a struggle for me, and the higher the grades, the harder the struggle. By year 10 things were becoming almost impossible for me, which was when they tested me and found I have Dyspraxia. Unfortunately it is not one of those things that you can just fix, or grow out of. I will always have dyspraxia. Some days I don’t even think about it, but other days it is hard, especially when I struggle to understand things. I learn things differently, and at a much slower rate, but I have learnt to make friends with that part of myself. Once we found out what the problem was it helped, because we could all approach how I learn differently, and select school subjects that would allow me to enjoy school. I managed to get my A levels, which I don’t think I would have been able to achieve without understanding what dyspraxia is, and how to work with it. Sometimes I get frustrated, but for the most part I cope well with the reality of living with dyspraxia.  If you want to know more about dyspraxia, and what it means to be an adult living with dyspraxia please read this link.

SCN_0004.jpg by Siobhon van der Merwe on

And for a further introduction, here is a little more about me

SCN_0001.jpg by Siobhon van der Merwe on


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