Monday, 28 May 2007

Rough Justice

Pin It This image shows a thief who has been beaten up and handcuffed to a post in the street outside a large Durban market by the shop owners who caught him. He has been displayed in the public eye as a lesson to other would-be thieves. This image was on display at the Chobi Mela International Festival of Photography 2006 ( in Bangladesh and at my solo exhibition in Durban as a 2m x 1m print.

Selling Tourism

Pin It Indaba, the world's 3rd largest Tourist Trade Convention, recently ended in Durban, South Africa - the focus being selling Southern Africa to the rest of the world. There were no shortage of painted faces and other interesting characters at the various exhibitor stands, and clearly the aim is to attract attention, as some of these folk really did. I try to find the humour visually at these events.

Camera Nikon D40/18-200

My Father, 1922-2006

Pin It Exactly one year today ago my father died, just over a year after my mother. These images are in memory of him. One of them, taken on Valentines Day last year, contains a self-portrait in my father's shaving mirror and is the last image I made of him.

Some Faces in the Crowd

Pin It

Wednesday, 23 May 2007

Trouble in Town

Pin It Street traders - people who sell goods in the streets of Durban protest today against the charges levied on them for trading space. The protest nearly turned ugly as the person to whom they wanted to deliver their petition, the City Manager, was out of town. The situation was finally diffused, but I have to say I felt a bit uncomfortable at the mood of the crowd brandishing sticks, jammed as I was at one stage between the locked doors of the City Hall, and a row of policemen. Photographically, shooting against the sun, with strong whites and dark colours, the results were not ideal. However, sometimes one has to work with what one has.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007


Pin It Whizz-kids is a care centre for children with distinct needs and disabilities requiring special care. It gets some of its support from the Community Chest, an umbrella charity organisation which channels donations into a vast variety of deserving charities and institutions nationwide. I do some photography for them for which I never charge.
It's quite hard work to photograph kids like this, emotionally hard, rather than physically. Usually when I work with kids they know they are being photographed and are quite keen to be in front of the camera. These children had no idea what I was doing, no interest and no eye-contact. They bob their heads up and down continuously, so capturing emotions and expression is quite challenging.
Fortunately the camera insulates photographers from the real world; we can hide behind the lens. But afterwards, it always hits home. To be sure.

Camera D40

Downtown corner

Pin It In post-apartheid South Africa, downtown is evolving as a new breed of small business owner finds a place in the urban economy. In some streets, funky ethnic wear, traditional tribal medicines and more have found their way into tiny hole-in-the-wall shops.

Camera Nikon D40

Saturday, 19 May 2007

Sorry you are too Tall

Pin It This image is all about getting older; throughout our lives we reach milestones that mark our ageing. It could be a 50th birthday, a reunion, the day we need to wear glasses....or something as simple as finally being too tall for the funfair.
I'm not good about ageing, and it's often one of my universal photographic themes. In this image I deliberately saturated the colours to be those of youth: over there, just to far away to reach out and touch....

Camera D2X

Sorry you are too Tall, Durban, 2006

Monday, 14 May 2007

Soccer Mom

Pin It A mother screams at a football referee during a local club match. If you enlarge the image you will notice the lines on the right of the image; travelling saliva (not altered in any way, promise). I'm glad she wasn't my mom! And, it was on Mother's Day!

Anger management, Football Match, Durban

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Jewels of the Imagination

Pin It Sometimes there are some very inspirational moments that go beyond the mere mundane, and photographing the artworks and space at the Umcebo Trust was one of those moments.

The Umcebo Trust (Umcebo is an isiZulu word meaning “treasure”) is a non-profit organization, registered in May 2003. The Trust aims to establish an inclusive studio workspace for people with special needs and other community members, to use and develop their artistic talents as a means of personal and creative development, as well as to generate income for them.

Umcebo is committed to the broader education and the development of skills for people with special needs, but also aims to include those who have various abilities – encouraging contact between all people no matter what their abilities. The idea is for participants to develop mutual understanding and awareness of each other in a mutual exchange of ideas and skills. The trust believes that personal empowerment and improved self-awareness is brought about through art, craft, creativity, learning and teaching.

The Umcebo Trust was established by Robin Opperman, a special needs Art teacher for thirteen years. Robin’s work with school students provided a working model for Umcebo. This work has resulted in a strong working relationship with the community as well as various organizations both here and internationally.*

The work is simply beautiful, imaginative and gleams and glows like a universe of jewels. Made from beads, glass, wood, recycled materials and community donations, it's a tribute to the imagination.

Some of Umcebo's work will be part of the Durban stand at the upcoming Chelsea Flower Show in London.

*Some of this text is from the Trust website

Camera Nikon D40