These are the only two photos I got to take: before and after. Apparently for the hour and half I was busy hundreds were taken…very opposite to the initial plan. It was to be a secret mission planned in the early morning hours when there was no one around. The plan had timing of police cars, council worker’s clothing, equipment, delivery trucks, all of it except … The right time could not be found when the streets of Obs would be quiet enough to paint the street. It was to join the two fronts doors of two of the busy bars in Lower main road, Observatory with a pedestrian crossing…a drunken one.
Then the Open Streets Project came along….no time to do it secretly….so let’s do it all out in the open…Unfortunately it meant washable paint. And the storms we have had in Cape Town did its job.
Must say there is something extremely satisfying at looking at an idea that started months ago….and it is washing away…
One can feel the change in the air, see the colours change as the trees share their old leaves and smell the mist in the morning. It’s a season I absolutely love. But in the end I think I it is more the changes that one sees as the seasons come and go that make it special. As I closed the front door behind me this morning I had to stop and take a photograph. The difference from a summer’s morning was clear (or misty) and in my head the scene played a tune. A tune that started its creation years ago when I stayed in the cold and wet George for a year. It was one of those difficult years but with so much beauty to remember. It was one of those when life goes through its changes….kind of like seasons.
For those that have not heard my CD before here you have the picture I took this morning with track nr 2, “rainy night”. Hope you enjoy! I am almost ready with new work for the studio again so I thought I should share one of the old.
Yesterday I hoped for a rainy day to do absolutely nothing and not feel guilty about it. A beautiful sunny day forced me out of the house. Had tea with my one sister and searched for new takkies since I found a big rip on the side of my old favourite ones. The afternoon I ended on a bench on Sea Point’s Promenade soaking up the sun. I picked one of the park benches I sat on before because I can park my scooter right next to it and it’s a great people watching spot while also watching the sun drop into the ocean. A little grey old granny came waddling up the path with her cane in hand. She walked straight up to me and stared…
I said: “Good afternoon”
She grunted back: ”You stole my bench!!”
I reply: “Pardon?!”
A split second later a realize she said “bench” and not “bitch” and I burst out in laughter. She does the same and tells me that she is glad I thought it was funny and waddles off with a naughty grin on her face to the bench a few meters further. When I leave I walk up to her, thank her for the laugh and tell her she can have her bench back now. We both started laughing all over again….I had a smile hidden in my helmet all the way home.
That is how I want to be when I grow up!
It has been some time again since my last update. I am not going to go into any details of why, what and how…. We all have times where silence is needed and other times when the silence needs to be broken.
I have been busy working on this for a while. She is still rough on the edges and needs more work. She has been growing on me for the last few weeks and I decided on naming her yesterday. That is why I am sharing “Silence”. Hopefully breaking it quietly enough not to disturb the peace.
PS: Mobile phones are not made for sound or video recordings….but a champagne cork is a perfect stand for a mobile phone if you do decide to record with it.
Last night I got to bed later than usual for a work day and struggled a bit to get up, make coffee and get into the shower. While in the shower my mind can wander: from the previous day and night to the day of work lying ahead…. And then early this morning a phone call from Mom: “Your uncle passed away…”
It is Easter (Pascha) today. I do not think I should go into the Religious and Pagan side of it. Nor the celebration of Spring or the Sun(Fire) in the Northern hemisphere. Or the Pickled fish and Hot-Cross buns or Bunny rabbits hiding Chocolate Eggs…
It was very quiet while I was getting ready for work. Because of the public holiday there was not the usual sound of traffic outside or the chatter of the builders next door to be heard. Just the wind.…Outside my window a leaf caught the morning sun and its shadows caught my eye. By the time I got my camera and my settings right the sun had moved and the scene had changed…
About 20years ago on my uncle’s birthday I wrote something on his birthday card along the lines of: At the end make sure the response you get is…”Bloody good show mate, bloody good show!” Sometime early this morning the lights in the theater changed. The curtains went down. And I will definitely stand up and say: “Boeta, bloody good show, bloody good show!”
Don’t miss any moment in life. The scene keeps changing.
At some stage last year I got asked to take on an extra coaching session per week with a particular “struggling” employee. She was already on a lot of pressure with extra training, coaching from a manager and another quality coach. We started our sessions finding a goal. We then decided to use our session to escape from work and all the pressure associated with it. So our sessions were used to make work fun and enjoyable. Once that is done all other challenges at work should be easier to achieve, right? Something that is fun must be easy to do…that was our goal.
So for a couple of weeks we watched motivational videos, had debates, chats, took a walk , etc, anything but work…During one such a session she asked if I had seen the graffiti on the highway. I drive past it every day. And I had not! At that point of the highway the traffic is usually quite busy and I will be white lining / lane splitting to get my bike through the traffic to the front of the queue. Still that is an excuse, I should have seen it!
I have looked at it many times since then. And today on my way to work, a public holiday here in South Africa, it was quiet enough for me to be able to stop on the highway and take a photograph…. Sometimes I wonder who coached who?
Today my lesson for myself is: Make your days enjoyable and fun!
Happy Human Rights day!
“A weed is a plant that has mastered every survival skill except for learning to grow in rows.” ~ Doug Larson
“A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.” ~Greek proverb
“If you think in terms of a year, plant a seed; if in terms of ten years, plant trees; if in terms of 100 years teach the people.” ~Confucius
For the last week, while brushing my teeth in the morning, I have noticed a little plant growing out of a crack in the wall just outside the back door. The image allows me to think and make up many metaphors which would be quite apt for moments in my life…past, present and future. For this entry of my blog I decide not to jabber on too much and keep it simple. You can make it up yourselves….Just wanted to share this tiny bit of green that starts off my mornings with you.
I went for a ride yesterday. Packed my camera in my bag. The same bag that caused some commotion back in 1986 when my family arrived in SA at the now OR Tambo airport. Shaped like a big tekkie and chock-full of sweets ( dubbelzoute drop), the bag triggered some alarm bells at the airport. There I was, a stubborn 8-year-old Brown Dutch boy, protecting my goods. Can still laugh at the mayhem at customs because I did not understand the Afrikaans or English word for shoe.
So, on Sunday I set off from home for my favourite Chapman’s Peak trip. You could say, carrying my baggage in my shoe.
About an hour later I got to the tollgate and started winding my way up. And I just have to say… damn those Italians knew how to build a road just perfect for a bike. Think it is at that point of the trip that my back finally clicked into place, as I took a deep breath and started to relax. My head was clearing up.
No point going into all the details of why my head needed clearing. Let’s just say it was angry, sad and confused… I'm lying, I should just say baffled and damn pissed off with myself, friends and life.
Topics included hunger, separation or divorce, homelessness, joblessness and tik... Just your ordinary topics you run into in your daily life. Well, they got to me and I am glad they did. Those things make me who I am and I thank my friends and the people in my life for that. I really do, I really mean it when I say thank you. I am alive in the most exciting time of my life. And, yes, even if it sometimes takes a deep breath that finally clicks my back into place to clear my head.
I am someone who struggles to stop the mind. My camera and my piano are the two sure things that stop it for me… I've only lately realised why I wake up many mornings completely lost and almost paranoid – because I didn’t or don’t remember my dream. If I didn’t dream, it's like: What happened? What did I miss? Have I lost it? Am I still here? What did I do last? What do I remember? So now, no matter what time I wake up, I know I need to take 5min to just lie there and relax (after sleeping lol ) and take it all in…
And this mind of mine that I have carried around for the last 35 years, in this South African person that I am today, has brought and introduced me to the most genius creative drunkards, paranoid druggies and homeless people. My friends are among soldiers and teachers, scientists, artists and geeks. The politicians, the sailors, chefs and architects all shape my daily life. Including the engineers, the musicians and restaurateurs. There are the waiters, the barmen, the theologians, farmers, students, professors, magicians, clowns and travellers, comedians, photographers, doctors, lawyers, journalist, thieves, police, prostitutes, clerks, bakers and welders. The housewives, handymen, moms and dads, etc, etc, etc…
And the list goes on and on… and in the end I still find that after clearing my head the best friend and only person in my life is me.
If the shoe fits, wear it! I am!
Part III - A comedic portrait of a trashy cabaret with three travelling panties meeting a snake and its dream.
Travelling Panties and a Dream
I was on a desperately needed holiday after about 14 months of work. I phoned Mom and told her I am bringing home three ladies to stay with us for a few days. - Repayment for the number of strangers they saddled us with growing up. I can’t count how many mornings my sisters and I would wake up and find ourselves sharing the breakfast table with a bunch of strangers whose car got stuck in town and could only think of calling the church. Surely the minister would help out... So the Saturday I arrive in George I ask Dad for his car to go to Mosselbay where I am to fetch three Dutch ladies, calling themselves the travelling panties, who had just completed their studies and wanted to see a bit more of our country. Mom, the lady Dragon (her Chinese sign, not her character) was a bit nervous at first but very quickly realised how easily her house filled with strangers got along.
The day after the travelling panties talked me into caressing and looking into the python’s eyes we parted ways. They carried on travelling East, I went back West to the Mother City. I was still on leave and on one of many late nights out I walked into Madness and saw a woman sitting at the bar. I opened my shoe (bag), took out my camera and asked: “May I?” She politely smiled and I pressed the button to open and close the shutter.
A German photographer on his way to a shoot in Brazil was sitting next to me and said: “I can’t believe you just did that. I’ve been sitting here looking at her for a while now and hate it that I don’t have my camera with me.” We started talking shop and I ask him the question for page 7 (now probably page 6) and he responded instantly: “A picture of my ear.”
I can’t read the drunken handwriting of his email or website details of that late night. So I still need to go search and find his friends to send him his picture. But the plan has changed, the dream has changed. The book will still be great, but Internet is the way for now. So this year on this blog or another page on my site I will start publishing pictures of all the people I meet in my life. I ask all of them the same question and then photograph their answer. Over the years I have met three types of people: The ones who immediately know, the ones who need time to think about it (some for years) and others who don’t even want to think about it. As a photographer I find myself blessed when someone allows me try and capture that part of his or her life.
Part II - A comedic portrait of a trashy cabaret with three travelling panties meeting a snake and its dream.
Many moons ago during my student days I started of working at a bar / restaurant as a doorman on evenings with live music. As it goes you become friends with colleagues and customers. I started getting along with a guy until one night he found out I was born in the year of the snake. He told me straight his best friend was also born in the year of the snake and he could not deal with another one in his life. Perplexed, I insisted on an explanation. His theory: All the animals in the Chinese calendar were chosen because of the frequency the universe spun that year. These animals live on the same frequency. Some very high, some low. Others fast and others slow. Like waves on a heart monitor machine. Mine passes through and connects with them all at some point. Other years will be parallel for a while and then move away again: Twelve different frequencies or waves along the same line of life.
I have thought of this many times since and have found some truth in it. Some people you get along with straight away, others take time. Some leave your life forever and other stay right next to you or at a distance. The animals: Well a chicken today is a commercial animal. It feeds us as a special Sunday roast or a fast food takeaway. The dog is a trusted friend we keep on a leash or let run free and feed. Last year’s dragon we are all drawn to. The mysterious animal we are not sure exists, but we would like to know...Just look at the people you know around you, you will be surprised if you start comparing them to the twelve.
On an excursion with the travelling panties (their words not mine, and more about them later) I got convinced to hold and pose for a picture with a snake. I gave in, because what better way to end my year than face the animal most of us fear? The animal year I was born in, with my frequency (and usually great to get along with from behind a pane of glass). The last year of the snake I lost my job, lost 90% of my eyesight in 2 months through cataracts and my Dad had a stroke. It was a difficult year with some of the most beautiful memories of my life.