Vanessa Cowling graduated from the Michaelis School of Fine Art (UCT) with a B A Honours in 1998.

She spent number of years in New York, London and Edinburgh before returning home.

Her first solo exhibition, Strings and Flight was held in 2005 during the Cape Town Month of Photography.  She has also exhibited in numerous group shows. Struik publishers published her first book of travel photographs, West Coast Cederberg to sea. (2006). Shoreline, is the artists second solo show, running at Barnard Gallery, concurrently with Stephen Inggs.

Currently, Vanessa lectures part time at the Michaelis School of Fine Art (UCT) and the Cape Town School of Photography, and freelances specializing in Fine Art, Art Reproduction and Portrait Photography.