I was watching Sky News at the gym the other day. They covered a story of inmates graduating, rising above their past offences and failures and making the most of their time in prison to study University degrees — Masters in Psychology, degrees in Economics & Science.

It made me think of how our failures and mistakes make our stories that much more interesting. We’ve got a tendency to hide our flaws, and if we can’t hide or ignore it, we like to disguise it under a good-looking cover of something.

I’ve been for 12 interviews this year, and one of my reflections from these interviews is that I got a fluency in telling my own career story over and over. Each time I told it a little different, and around interview 10 or 11 I realised that there’s a very good part of this story that I haven’t told a lot of people, or at least not out here on the internet.

So here’s my confession, (and a great story).

I am Adri Stadt.

In 2011 I moved back to Cape Town, South Africa, after living abroad for a couple of years. I spent 2 years in the UK, then 2 in Mexico and finally I squeezed in 3 months (& 1 break-up) in Berlin. When I moved back to Cape Town I moved into a beautiful flat in Seapoint, and got in touch with some of my old University friends, one of them happen to have a men’s fashion blog, Polaroids on Sidewalks, and together we decided that I’ll do a shoot for the blog, at my Seapoint flat. I wanted to establish myself as a photographer, but didn’t really see fashion as my genre. I considered, and still consider myself a Documentary Photographer, so I decided I’ll do the shoot for his blog, but change my name, because I like to compartmentalise and keep things in neat boxes.

So I became Adri Stadt.

I was sitting in Paris with one of my best friends from University earlier this year, she’s one of the most incredible fashion & beauty photographers out there and you should definitely follow her work. We were talking about our mutual friend and his men’s blog, and mostly about this impromptu shoot I did for him in 2011, and how bad the images were. For some reason Mail Celeb News and every other men’s blog, Pinterest board & Tumblr site loved it, and my shoot went viral for all the wrong reasons, especially the sitting in the kitchen with the kitchen towel pic. I could’ve been famous.

Amazing photographer Adri Stadt.

After much laughter, and cringing, I decided to own up for being the creator of these images. So, without any further adieu, I present to you Nic Pletts, as shot by Adri Stadt. He’s a really, really famous model now, perhaps these images helped to kickstart his career? (I doubt it though.)

To see my work now, go to my site Adriana Reitzema Photography or follow me on Instagram.

Photographer & Digital/UX Copywriter. I love cultures and stories. Follow me on Instagram @adrianareitzema