Friday, November 30, 2007

"Voel jy veilig in die skaduwee van jou stad?"

Was in 'n dwaal toe ek by Zeplin's aangekom het; dit was 'n lang rit vanaf Jozi, deur 'n helse storm. Pretoria het nogal mooi gelyk, vir die wat die weerlig vibes geniet. Ek ken daai strate al lankal, vanaf Fridge en Stardust se dae; al het ek toe nie afgeneem nie, sou ek nie... en daar is min wat eintlik verander het. Ek HAAT dit om by Zeplin's af te neem.

Mens kan sien aan die band se gesigsuitdrukkings dat die klank sommer hondpiel suig... en ek weet mos, want ek het self op daai verhoog gejol. Dis kak. Om in die crowd met 'n kamera te staan is nie veel beter nie; vir 'n Gof klub is die wit video skerm iets moers, en maar 'n kak backdrop wir 'n fotograf wat meeste van die tyd in swart en wit werk. Dis hoekom ek meeste van die tyd op die verhoog deurbring. Maar nou ja... ek wou actually my buddies se band kyk, maar ek raak vol skuldgevoelens as ek niks doen nie... so ek het bietjie my ding gedoen: in kleur, ja.

Van Coke Kartel was befok... en dit was hul tweede gig, nadat hulle 2 uur die oggend vanaf die eerste een in Kaapstad gery het. Hulle se hulle het bietjie gesukkel, maar dit was goed om weer kreatiwiteit deur die are te sien vloei.

En ja... hulle sing in Afrikaans... dus het ek die blog so geskryf.

Tot later dan.

Just Did It.

Explanations to follow here.


"Tell me brother, have you heard from Johannesburg?"

Some interesting things lining up on the horizon... a new assignment, a new project, perhaps?


Thursday, November 29, 2007

If You Can't Go To Seattle...

... maybe Seattle can come to you?

So much in this. More later.


Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sea Level.

I am never sure why, but I just cannot connect with Durban. That said, whenever I am down there (and wind up having to scrape the air off with a spoon) I am reminded that there is something that I love about the place: the people... be it in general, or those that I know.

Thanks to Craig and Jo(e)(?) for putting me up; even though you are both actually Cape Townians, you remind me of that Durb's spirit. And thanks for staying up all night with me, as I talked... and talked... and talked. Looks like even herbal tea is not an antidote.

And thanks to Dorin for having me by his house... Dorin was my first introduction to Durban hospitality, a good few years back, when I met all his friends at Splashy. And speaking of Dorin's friends, thanks to Ian, Rupert, Yusuf, Andrew (Gear wha?), Beer and all those whose names I have already forgotten through sleep deprivation and too much caffeine. My steak was still better than those nasty looking veggie patties... which Matt will tell you he braaied.

And thanks to my Mom, who called with a storm warning, and made me think I was never going to get out of there... this is what it looked like, so you'll understand why I believed you.

And thanks to whoever undercooked that chicken. I was as sick as a dog.


Monday, November 26, 2007

Be True: Sibu Sibaca

Role Model - Aids Orphan & Activist:
"Only in her early twenties, Sibu Sibaca has certainly endured more than her share of suffering, having lost both her mother and father. As an angry, hurt and rebellious youth she started volunteering at LoveLife to do something positive, which gave a clear direction to her life. She has since represented Africa at the G8 summit, challenged Tony Blair, been personally head-hunted by Richard Branson and now manages Virgin Active’s Social Investment Programme. What sets her apart is not her suffering – it is her success, her capacity for joy and staying true to her irrepressible spirit."

The first thing I always notice about Sibu is how "small" she is; petite is perhaps a better word, but small suits the context, for after time spent in her presence, the perspective shifts, and you become aware of how she can fill a room (I should mention that one of the organisers mentioned her size while meeting her; this under a 3x2 metre image of her up on a wall.) I first met her while photographing for Dazed & Confused:Japan and while I like to think I did justice to her beauty, I was unable to carry across her dynamic nature in just an office setting, albeit it while reading Maya Angelou and engaged in animated conversation with her friends.

Sibu's energy, it seems, is ever present. She was the first to respond to me as I put out feelers for this Nike project, and as I struggled to talk to her (out of breath having just staggered in from a 5 k run) I found out that she was out of town for the days that I wanted to shoot, but would be in Durban for the beginning of a week-long trip along the coast of South Africa, playing cricket with kids from the area. I booked a ticket.

It was great to see her again, to be reminded of her drive, and to get soaked as I walked up and down the beach with her and over 800 kids, for hours on end, having been burnt for three days in a row and therefore electing to wear long jeans, a long sleeve shirt and sneakers. Surprisingly, no one there thought I was a beach person, up to my knees in Levi's, photographing her play with kids and handle admin on her phone at the same time (as well as planning tickets and a dress for a gala event that night.) Clearly, if I could multi-task like her, I would have shoes that didn't smell of sand and salt... even after three days of washing.


Sunday, November 25, 2007

Be True: Louis Bolling

The Soweto Grand Slam - Tennis and Life Coach & Activist: "Born and bred in South West Philadelphia, USA, Louis Bolling seems surprisingly at home on the tennis courts of Soweto. The kid from the ghetto made good by grooming his tennis and life skills at the Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis Center, founded by the legendary tennis player. After the AIDS-related death of Ashe, he became deeply involved in the struggle against AIDS. Now living in South Africa, his election as Development Officer of Gauteng Central Tennis Association and his involvement with Nkosi’s Haven has given him the chance to stay true to both his passion and his calling."

Louis was another stroke of luck on this Nike campaign. I had met him while shooting for Dazed & Confused:Japan, but wanted to use more of the work he does in Soweto for the article. Indeed, our first shoot together turned into an admin disaster beyond our control, so we planned again to spend a sunset in Soweto as he worked with the kids he coaches. His drive, passion and discipline are immense... but it is not just his tennis and activism that benefits from this. He and I spent ages in Jozi/Soweto traffic, talking how Hip Hop affected our lives (we are both the same age) in reference to everything from early Rakim, Philly's own The Roots, Tumi as a voice and Fresh Prince ghost writers and sampled Clash basslines in his songs.

This time around, it was great to spend time with him again, make plans for how we are going to work again together in future, and to see his connection to Nkosi's Haven in action. I am just glad he didn't go out the night before like Lee and I did, as he would hardly have been in a state to run around a tennis court; as it was, I was pretty broken after my second day toasting in the sun, the first being with Lee, and the third just a flight to Durban away...


Saturday, November 24, 2007

Be True: Lee Kasumba

Label-less Lee: "Born Leslie Nabunya Theresa Kasumba in Uganda, and proudly moulded in South Africa, Lee has been labelled many things: DJ, TV presenter, magazine editor and songwriter to name but a few. Although the labels ‘The Mother of Hip Hop’ and ‘The Queen of Joburg’ fit quite uncomfortably with her unpretentious nature, they are indeed the most appropriate, as Lee has fought for the inclusion, and education, of real hip hop in commercial radio, staying true to the spirit of Hip Hop."

While the bio is brief, I do not know what else to say about Lee. She almost seemed embarrassed when she saw it, but that is in keeping with "unpretentious nature"... to be honest, there is a LOT that I can say about here; I first met her in Soweto, during the early days of a Red Bull Music Academy get-together, which later saw us travelling together to Melbourne... where we both discovered that the whole of Australia drinks shit coffee.

Since then, we have collaborated and partied together on a number of occasions, and her grace and energy have never failed to impress. Her knowledge of Hip Hop, local and otherwise is vast... I have taken to calling her Lee-kipedia. I was warned in the early days that she is the only woman around who talks as much as I do, which is true... but I have never not been compelled to listen. Including her in this project was by no means a stretch, but it did feel like a way to thank a friend for all she has done for me: here's to the woman that warned Keith Murray on-air that she "makes rappers cry".


Friday, November 23, 2007

Be True: Jason Wessenaar

Be Positive. Be True. - Counsellor & AIDS Activist: "Jason tested HIV positive more than seven years ago. Since then he could have been a poster boy for being openly positive and upbeat. Going public with his HIV status was a carefully considered decision as it affected not only himself, but his loved ones too. However, living a lie was not an option and the stigmatisation of Positive people only motivated him more to get involved and to spread hope, knowledge and positivity about HIV and AIDS. And through all of this, he is simply staying true to himself."

I first met Jason in a radio studio, during a broadcast of Criselda Kananda's show on Metro FM. I had seen him on TV before, pointed out to me by my wife, as someone she greatly admired after meeting him during her stint as a be-friender at the University of Pretoria's Centre for the Study of AIDS. While listening to him speak, I realised he was perfect for the Dazed & Confused:Japan story I was shooting, as a result of his calm, positive nature. Still, I had only a few days to complete the story, and it was not until this Nike campaign that I was able to again meet him, and attempt to say something of his story.

He now works for JHPIEGO and time constraints being what they were, there was little time to portray his personality in his relatively new office. That said, I hope the portrait does him justice, as he is someone whose views and nature can immediately make one reconsider ideas around
stigmatisation and how people today perceive the realities of HIV/AIDS.


Thursday, November 22, 2007

"Oh, Snap!"

Hadn't even realised:
28 October 2006, The Bassline... an HIV/AIDS awareness concert.

Fast forward:
15 September 2007, The Bassline... a Darfur awareness concert.

"Hip hop means sayin what I want, never bite my tongue

Hip hop means teaching the young,

If you feelin' what I'm feelin'
Then you hearin' what I'm sayin'..."
- Dead Prez.


"... in front of her is everyone who was on the ship."

Paul wrote this. Go read it. It is all true. It is about "the kind of place where people only wore their sunglasses when it was sunny."

It might only make sense to those who were there; maybe that is the way it should be. I miss it.

Liam, Pierre, Blaise and smoky Rudi. And there were many others.


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

“Only great minds can afford a simple style.”


"Good conversation is hard to find in this town."

How long does it take to get famous?
Benny Dalmau
Four years. Six to get rich.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Where Gandhi Lived For A Year.

Kidofdoom, representing, as they do.

For Caryn and Linda.


An Arresting Situation.

There can be very little that makes sense in these... the first time I heard the Stone Roses, versus the first time I heard Public Enemy?

Can I find myself in it somehow?

"Culture saves nothing or nobody, nor does it justify. But it is a product of man: he projects himself through it: this critical mirror alone shows him his image." - Sartre


On The Beach...

Can't wake up, and got Chris Rea stuck in my head... well, better that I suppose, than having a visual reference to The Road To Hell to draw on...


Monday, November 19, 2007

Monday Morning You Look So Fine: The Smiths

Bizarre moments of late... what with the press for my exhibition, I have been skylined I guess; easier to pick off; in a better position to hear some bizarre theories as to how and why I do what I do. Not least of which regard my temper and my apparent "god complex". Guess I shouldn't have made that comment at Oppiaarde about not needing wellingtons, as I am fully capable of walking on water. I do have a big, loud mouth... blarney, like. But I do get pissed at the thought of people approaching stories sheep-like, more form than content, and without the ability to think for themselves or even critique their work to the point that they can at least see through the SHIT they themselves write about it; one reason I prefer photography to writing, though I can turn a phrase should the need arise.

Writing aside though, I get the feeling there
are those that pigeon hole what I am up to, trying to reduce it to an aesthetic formula, but to no effect. Perhaps I do it myself... to myself. Either way, I am quite happy to mouth off about it... but rest assured, you can come talk to me about it if you want, rather than sucking your thumb. I promise to tell you to fuck off (if I am so inclined) in the first 5, rather than waste your time...

These pictures are reference to gesture (or a gesture to reference)... an attempt to climb out of the box my god complex apparently put me in. Safe.

"Sweetness, sweetness I was only joking

When I said I'd like to smash every tooth
In your head...

Oh ... sweetness, sweetness, I was only joking
When I said by rights you should be
Bludgeoned in your bed..." - The Smiths


Thursday, November 15, 2007

"You Missed The Moon On Monday Morning..."

  • And Monday was VERY slow.
  • 2007-11-15
  • 00:25

  • slow is good
  • 2007-11-15
  • 00:35


Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Is Taipei A Sin City?

Sometimes you can beat the odds with a careful choice of where to fight.


One Month Ago, Today...

I should have been awake... I should have been sleeping.

"I don't think of the past. The only thing that matters is the everlasting present." - W. Somerset Maugham


Monday, November 12, 2007

Monday Morning You Look So Fine: Valiant Swart

"Die son sak in Durbanville,

Die horisoon raak rooi...

Die mense doen wat hulle wil...

Die son sak in Durbanville,
En die jollers is jonk..." - Valiant Swart.


Sunday, November 11, 2007

D'You Know What I Mean?

Finally seen the first Van Coke Kartel portrait I did out in a public forum... here's to the birth of the first godson of Fokofpolisiekar...

"Look into the wall of my mind's eye
I think I know, but I don't know why
Questions of the answers you might need...

I met my maker, I made him cry
And on my shoulder, he asked me why
As people won't fly through the storm
I said listen up now, we don't even know you're born

All my people right here, right now
D'you know what I mean?" - Oasis

(This is not a Monday Morning lyrical reference, by the way...)


Monday, November 05, 2007

Oh, and Happy Birthday Johnny!

This time last year, we took a walk around London in celebration of a special day... remember, remember...

Johnny's birthday, come closing, a lot chiller than the brandy Wynand fed him just after midnight. I was feeling a bit like a character in Winterbottom's Wonderland, it being a Guy Fawkes weekend again...

Here's to one of the hardest working guys I know...

Earn money while
others sleep...