Henry is


A passionate, generous, and gentle giant, Henry Engelbrecht will always be remembered as having a profound influence on the local live music industry. For over a decade ‘Big H’ – as he was affectionately known by bands, organisers, and fans – captured unfiltered, emotional, and surreal imagery of performances across the length and breadth of the country, often rapidly catapulting those he photographed onto the world stage in social- and traditional media.

For the past decade, attendees at live events across SA would be guaranteed to see his salt-and-pepper haired, black-clad frame, weaving through the crowds and backstage on a mission to capture the heart of these gatherings. Self-taught, he honed his skill daily, with a passion and dedication that inspired many around him. To watch his growth as an artist was in itself a gift to the events community.

  • “I can’t remember the time I met Henry. He was just there, as if he was meant to be exactly where he was. He was such a part of what we were doing, unquestionably, there.”

    Misha Loots, Oppikoppi Festival

  • “The nickname, Big H refers to almost every facet of the beautiful, talented soul Henry Engelbrecht. His incredibly big heart, smile and passion for the photography and SA music industry was matched by few. Your life has made a big impact on so many. Your spirit and your images will leave a big mark in the history books of South African music. Sharing the Pit with Henry at the Boargasm show, Mieliepop 2017, will be a memory I’ll cherish forever.”

    Jacques Schutte, photographer

Henry was a true observer who immortalised moments of pure in-the-present passion in his own larger-than-life way. He created icons of anyone fortunate enough to be in front of his all-seeing lens.

This book is a tribute, not only to Henry’s unique world-class photography, but also to his innate storytelling ability, a deep respect for all performers and an epic devotion and love of his ‘music family’, which he shared far and wide. This book is a testament to a decade in pursuit of the perfect moment – the exceptional hundredths-of-a-second that are raw, gritty, truthful and, ultimately, meaningful.

This is the book ‘Big H’ always dreamt about, contributed to – and completed by – the people who are forever indebted to him. A love letter to live music in South Africa.

Dear Henry, thank you for the memories.

  • – Warwick Rautenbach | Hellcats

    “We always said to Henry that for every incredible photo he took of Hellcats we were sure he had a bank of images that could completely unravel everything. He was the rare type of human that loved you regardless of seeing you at your worst. And we only ever saw him at his best.”

  • – Shen Scott, photographer

    “He knew what hard work meant. He knew what beauty was. He knew that we were capturing history and that he trusted us to do it with him. Henry was a giant of the industry, but he was never too big for anyone. I’ll always be grateful for his generosity, and I’ll always cherish his belief in me”

  • – Big Willy | Fuzigish

    “Seeing Henry at a gig meant you knew two things, that the photos would be savagely dope!! And that one of the kindest, best souls you’ve ever known was in the audience. You inspired us to play our hearts out Henry. See you at the great gig in the sky.”

  • – Andre Badenhorst | Photographer

    “BIG H! Dankie vir al die amazing tye wat ons saam gehad het brother! As ons by dieselfde show geshoot het, het ek altyd geweet ek moet my A-game bring! Jou images het altyd my mind geblow! Wat jy vir die music en fotografie industry gedoen het sal vir ewig voort leef in jou Kuns! Jy het mense geleer wat dit beteken om truly kind te wees. Gaan jou bear hugs en vriendelikheid mis My Bra! Die pit is leeg sonder jou! Sag Slaap my vriend dankie vir Alles! A true legend!”

  • – Christelle Duvenage | Photographer

    “..we can’t change this change, the pit is home and home will never be the same again, there will always be a never-ending and extensive emptiness where you used to be. But we won’t accept it. We will rebel against it, with everything in us, we will pour tolerance, fortitude, gentleness, consideration, kindness and pure humanity, everything you emanated, into that hole and we will cultivate and nurture the heck out of it. We will drench this world in so damn much of it that it won’t know what hit it.

    We may never be able to fill the void left by your absence Henry, but we are going to try our damn well best.

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