Photography

Its that time of year again, you know? Its that crazy time of year again when everything is happening. The last curtain call and everyone is on stage, before the show ends and we enter 2016.

If there ever was a tumultuous year, this was the one. 2015 has seen much discontent culminating in the student marches to the (self-serving and disconnected) president at the Union Buildings, not even two weeks ago. At last, the voices of of the future of this beautiful country are being heard, not quite in harmony but at least not singing a defined political tune. Let the momentum of this bring us back to sensibility.

On a personal level there were lots of ups and downs. I don’t think I have ever been as productive as this year. Many exhibitions and sales to boot, keeping the home fires burning. Trips are planned to expand my creative reach (more to follow later). A grand show of Southern African glass will take place during Cool Capital at the Pretoria Art Association by the end of next year which Dr. Ingram Anderson and I are curating. In March a solo exhibition at Long Street Art Lovers is already stimulating my focus.
Like all journeys one has to traverse the dark valleys to get to the other side. Luckily the view from the next hillock inspires “Fortschritt”.

So, here we are. November 2015. I’ll turn 42 next week. Still feel 25 though…

One of my highlights this year was a Roger Ballen photographic workshop coordinated by the Alternative Print Workshop’s Dennis and Janus. We had a derelict building at One Fox Street, down town Johannesburg, to our disposal. “Bring props”, they said, and we did. I thoroughly enjoyed the environment of learning by doing. Roger made his rounds through the building and gave us 16 participating photographers tips, comments and compliments.
This interaction has been invaluable to my photographic “eye”. As I told Roger, we were busy taking pictures and he came around sprinkling a few grains of salt here and there, sharing his magic with us, making us look at the small things, the details.

Thank you Roger! God is indeed in the detail.

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Tswaing crater just North of Pretoria is one of the greatest day hikes in my neck of the woods. Even the drive up to the old “Soutpan” takes you through unfamiliar terrain, instilling a sense of adventure. Taking the Soutpan road you pass through parts of Soshanguve, an ever growing settlement established by the previous regime. The name Soshanguve is an amalgamation of the various tribes names that were settled in the area back then. Sotho, Shangaan, Nguni and Venda.

I haven’t been up this way for some time and couldn’t miss the new shacks and houses that have emerged from the barren ground. This is the real South Africa. This is where most of the population lives, in townships, far away from the gated communities and golf estates.

The concrete fence of the Tswaing reserve is in tatters. Maybe the beams have been salvaged as construction material for the surrounding housing developments? (Incidentally, the friendly and helpful lady at reception mentioned that they struggle with poachers in the reserve.) Entering the gate you notice that part of the large Tswaing visitor’s center has been gutted by a fire. A skeletal ruin which will be echoed later on in the journey when one passes through the ruins of the old salination plants.

The Tswaing experience has never been cold and this hike was no exception. Although it is the middle of our Winter the mercury must have been in the mid twenties. Luckily I took a hat and lots of water.

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