This ugly concrete wall, topped by an electric fence, is the final sign of continuous habitation on Okavango Road. After travelling past house after house after housing estate, one is suddenly confronted by a low wire fence and an immense space of sunburnt land. In essence, this is one of the edges of Cape Town.
Using the Recessky TLR is a constant gamble. The viewfinder is blurry, focus is as much about estimation as it is about luck, there is no such thing as a standard shutter speed and rolling on the film is a total guesstimation. But sometimes you get something worth keeping like this little run on of images.
Pot plants at Artefact cafe in the Iziko South African Museum.
The weekend was spent at the wonderfully laidback and always charming Fynbos Estate. Just on the Durbanville side of Malmesbury, it's a small working wine farm with a ton of character, wonderful animals and some excellent organic Swartland wines (a current special on 2015 Chardonnay is unbelievable value).
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On a small Swartland farm named Fynbos Estate lives Rupert the dreadlocked donkey and not to far from his dusty little kingdom is a perennially bare tree. Somehow my homemade Recessky camera makes them appear both orange and much closer together than they actually are.
I was initially attracted to the former lion enclosure on the UCT campus by its scale. It feels like something from a medieval horror movie that would contain a bizarre many-headed, snapping beast rather than a pride of lions.Read More
After chatting to the museum's entomology curator a few days ago I came away a little horrified. I've long known that insects are generally very vulnerable and that it doesn't take much for a species to go extinct but to hear that the number of insects on the planet has plummeted by about 45% since 1973 was quite shocking. Needless to say, all of these animals had an important part to play in the many ecosystems that make life on this planet function.Read More
I love how travelling forces one to confront all kinds of differences. These can vary from vast and imposing contrasts that force one way out of one's comfort zone while sometimes they can be simple, subtle details that let you wonder at the variety of life.
Personally, I loved this black sand sandpit I found in Iceland. I'm from coastal South Africa and grew up on white sand beaches. Unsurprisingly as a child this white sand always made up the sand pits we played in. Contrast that with Iceland, one of the world's most active volcanic regions, and famed for their black sand beaches. Equally unsurprisingly, this same black sand is also used to fill up sandpits in Iceland.
Its all swings and roundabouts but nice to think about in periods of quiet reflection.
Few lepidoptera (moths or butterflies) can claim to be as 'edgy' as the Acherontia atropos, more commonly known as the Death's-Head Hawkmoth. For us Generation X-ers this reputation was cemented by its starring role on the poster for the movie, The Silence of the Lambs but it had had a long history in popular culture before that.Read More
From the terrifying spider wasp that can attack and paralyse spiders many times its size to the delicate, brown-striped paper wasps that are able to build intricate nests out of wood pulp and saliva we have all dealt with wasps before.
But did you know there is something called, The Schmidt Sting Pain Index? It is a list compiled by an American entomologist, Justin O. Schmidt, who has personally been stung and bitten by countless different creatures and has then ranked the pain each caused on a scale of 1 to 4, 4 being the most painful. To the joy of anyone who isn't a total scientist geek he has included very wine nerdishesque descriptions of the accompanying pain. I have included the most colourful ones below:Read More
(Un)fortunately, I'm sick today and so at home. Of course, sitting at home has had me bouncing off the walls, so I've started trying to make my website work... This is a new blog tradition I'm starting where I'm going to try and post an image a day. On days like today when I can't create a new image I will allow myself to post a throwback image. Otherwise, they will hopefully be new and I will hopefully have an incentive to take more photos...
I spend my days working at the Iziko South African Museum. That it is a natural history museum should give away that I'm surrounded by a fair amount of history. Yet, sometimes, history still finds a way to surprise me.Read More
Event oriented documentary photography and photography of the land and cityscapes represent two major genres of photography in South Africa, with the latter growing in significance since South Africa achieved democracy in 1994. One of the early torchbearers of landscape and cityscape photography has been David Goldblatt, and in his seminal book, ‘The Structure of Things Then’, he clearly illustrates the link between society, history and the landscape as he recorded events of great trauma and marginalization (Goldblatt, 1998). These themes have since proven popular within South African photography.
In this paper, after placing some notable South African photographers within the context of international landscape photography, I will analyse images created by these photographers to establish the techniques they use to explore these themes, and to assess the potential values of photography of trauma and the landscape.Read More
How are we still having this debate? How is it that in the year 2014 after photography has been exhibited in every major gallery from the Museum of Modern Art in New York to the Venice Biennale in... um... Venice that this arts journalist is still wondering if photography has arrived as 'art'. How is it that even though we live in the uber post-modern present where someone's bed covered in bodily secretions and a pair of slippers is considered art, we are still discussing whether a photograph can be art? What is so un-art about photography?Read More
It has been written that landscape is a connector of the soul with being and throughout history; features of the landscape not only have been an inspiration for worship but also integral as spaces for worship. The Egyptians worshipped a personification of the Nile River and used the river as the vehicle for an annual religious festival, while the Celts in ancient Ireland believed that the mountain Croagh Patrick was the dwelling place of deity Crom Dubh and this mountain was the focus of an annual harvest festival.
The integration of natural landmarks did not end with ancient times and nowadays Irish Catholics have claimed Croagh Patrick, stating that St Patrick fasted at its summit for 40 days before banishing all the snakes from Ireland. Today it is the site of the most important Catholic pilgrimage in Ireland with almost one million visitors climbing it a year.Read More
Kenyan based artist, Cyrus Kabiru, is rapidly gaining a reputation as one of Africa’s leading practitioners of Afrofuturism. The individualistic Kabiru creates intricately sculptural artworks from recycled materials he finds throughout his hometown of Nairobi. Through his use of found materials Kabiru creates a dialogue between his life story and the thriving African city in which he lives allowing him to assert his identity in the present as well as explore his dreams of the future.Read More