Addition 201701

It’s 2017, and besides the sense that the world is on the brink of disaster – nothing much has changed.

Welcome back. I hope this year will be a good one, in which we will appreciate the kindness of others, and continue to work at actively making the world a place where nobody will get left behind.

I’ve added a couple of photographs since we last spoke, and most of my activity here (and on social media) has revolved around my work with the students at the Elizabeth Galloway Academy of Fashion Design. I really enjoy that work, and I’m happy to say that I will be back there this year – teaching student and photographing stuff.

But as a gentle reminder that I photograph other things too, there’s this…

I spent some time with my parents in Stellenbosch during December. They’ve got a beautiful garden which attracts a fair amount of wildlife. Mostly birds. This baby Common Waxbill was brought into the house by Lybica – my parents’ cat (and main source of joy). It seemed like Lybica was just bored and wanted something to play with, because – besides possible emotional trauma – the bird hadn’t been harmed. It also seemed to be rather exhausted, as it kept falling asleep in my mother’s hand after she caught it. Falling asleep is not a great idea when you’re the only threatened party in a potential life-and-death situation, but it didn’t seem to understand that. After admiring how beautiful it was, the Waxbill was set free – with the hope that it would find its way to safety, safely.

A couple of minutes after being bid farewell, it was returned to us. Lybica was being quite diligent, and the Waxbill quite silly. This second rescue was turned into a slightly more elaborate affair, with some food, and foliage placed in a large glass bowl (with it) so that it could get some rest in a safe place, and be observed some more.

At one point during the first rescue, the silly little Waxbill escaped from my mother’s gentle grasp and found itself poised on this Delicious Monster – blissfully unaware of the looming threat.

See larger image here


Addition 201612

It’s amazing how disruptive an untimely, unscheduled break in a routine can be. I’m still slogging through the remnants of the disturbances caused by that pesky power surge, believe it or not…

However, it hasn’t only been gloom. I’ve done some more work with the 3rd Year students at the Elizabeth Galloway Academy of Fashion Design. It’s bitter sweet. This was the first group of students Amor and I taught almost two years ago. We’d been warned about their non-existent group dynamic, and how you never know whether anything you’re saying gets through to them, because they barely respond to anything you say or do. We didn’t feel it in class last year. With the exception of two or three students who were clearly attentive, this year was different.

By the time we had them in class to prepare for their shoots, I’d already seen (and photographed) the mid-year exhibition and the annual fashion event during which their first range for the year, the Self-Expression Range, gets shown. Despite their awkward class-dynamic, this was clearly a formidable group of designers. Some had already established themselves in their own businesses, some seemed less sure of what to do next, but all of them are clearly as ready, capable, qualified and skilled as they need to be to take on the fashion industry, whether they believe it yet or not. There are a hand-full that should probably do a fourth year – enabling them to become functionally involved in the industry while still under the Academy’s wing – before being let loose on their own.

Anyway, I’m glad they’re moving on to the real world where they can make some contribution to making you look good, but it’s also a little sad that I won’t be seeing many of them again. Ever.

Some of the work has made its way to the With section of this website, and there’ll be more there in due course. In the mean-time, this is Nicole, who I’ve probably taken more photos of than anyone else. Ever. Nicole produced beautiful clothes, and was often used as a model by the other students. Here she is dressed by Vicky.


View larger image here

(there’s an issue with the Facebook button below, but I’m working on it…)


Addition 201611

So…

I had a bit of an incident at the end of June. All my computer hard drives were damaged due to a power surge when the power came back on after a power failure while I was in Stellenbosch. I was advised not use my external drives due to the risk of a total failure and the loss of everything on the drives. Everything, like my photographs. I had to wait some time for my insurance company to get their act together so that I could get new hard drives, and move all my photographs from one of the damaged externals to a new one. This resulted in me not being able to access my photographs. Fortunately it all got sorted out, and it seems that I didn’t lose anything (except my Adobe Elements, which I use for watermarking my photographs. And some time). And here I am again…

Many things have happened since July. Spring came and went. My friend Christine moved to London. Summer started. Fees Must Fall remobilized in what seems to be a less constructive fashion. And there was Halloween…

In a celebration of sorts of my return, here is a photograph of my friend Cate at AfrikaBurn in 2013. Cate is armed with a bottle of vodka and a tissue – sufficient armament for just about any eventuality.

Cate at AfrikaBurn 2013

Addition 201607

You may have noticed some of my other photographs of Metallica at the Bellville Velodrome here

This was a special occasion for me. Although I’m probably not an as big Metallica fan as many other people (ja, I’m a Megadeth guy…), I feel quite thrilled to have had the opportunity to be in the pit the second time the band visited South Africa. I’d seen them at the Coke Fest at the old Green Point Stadium in 2006, but didn’t have the opportunity to photograph them then.

By 2013, it seemed that the band had gone through most of their post-Pop Star break-through turmoil, and had become more of an all-conquering roadshow than masters of Thrash. The overwhelming commercial success of Metallica (The Black Album) from 1991 had thrown the band into a creative vacuum, and they hadn’t produced a musically significant follow-up to the 1988 release, …And Justice For All. That’s a long time.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it didn’t really matter. When an opportunity like this arises - you take it, and thanks to my friend Aidan, it did!

So off I went – excited as the squirrels in my friend Caryn’s garden anticipating someone throwing some nuts in their direction. During my walk from my parking spot to the media entrance half-way up the hill, I phoned another friend, Hougaard, to briefly share my excitement, and the moment. Hougaard had spent much time introducing me to Heavy Metal during the later part of the Eighties. Then I found and waited in the queue.

Eventually Bonj came to fetch the media contingent, and we where marched across the sports field and up the stairs of the outside spectator stand and into the building where we waited for further instruction form Wendy of Universal Music.

Van Coke Cartel opened with a slightly tuned, but as usual – highly energetic set. Then we waited and waited some more.

Metallica was as tight as the racing line through the corkscrew at Laguna Seca. But I had three songs to get some work done. I’d done a little reading about some high profile photographers’ experiences and advice on photographing Metallica – just to be as prepared as I could possibly be. This was the last time I made that mistake. I adapt much quicker when I follow my own knowledge and processes. Despite the bad advice, and all the excitement, I think I managed quite well.

Although James seems to be looking out to nowhere, I like how their hands are just about in sync in this photograph.

Here are Kirk Hammett, Robert Trujillo and James Hetfield of Metallica at the Bellville Velodrome, Cape Town in 2013:

Being ushered quickly out of the pit by some rather large, couldn’t-care-less-about-you-looking security staff after our time was up, no-one seemed to know what we were permitted to do next. I didn’t want to over-stay my welcome, so made my way to an exit to take out my ear-plugs and linger in the sound from a safer distance. I found an entrance and watched some more of the show over the sea of metal heads – still basking for a while in having been thrown a handful of nuts.

As I started walking back to my Kombi a group of about five dodgy looking people started following me – stopping in their tracks as I turned back to stay within earshot of a group of burly security guards. The dodgy guys just loitered, so I made my way to the biggest of the guards and asked him to escort me back to my parking spot.

It was a good night.

Larger image here