Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Danie Nel VIDEO: Crashtackle–Hammerfall

I have mentioned before that I’m a musician in my free time, making and recording music, and distributing it for free/pay-what-you-want digitally. Just for kicks. Anyways, so my musical portfolio has grown to also encompass another entity, or side-project as musicians call it, called “Crashtackle”. This is basically my heavier, more experimental music. You can connect with my Crashtackle music at www.facebook.com/crashtackle or the links below, or read about my musical adventures in general, at http://vortexafternoon.blogspot.com .

So, finally I got another Crashtackle tune out. Actually, just my second. This time it’s “Hammerfall”, and the first time I’m singing as well in Crashtackle. I tried all sorts of styles, but I realised, alas, I’m not a screamer, growler or even high-angst belter, I am what I am, so I decided to just go with that. Also, I realised that it might be a good idea to get a video out for Crashtackle.  I have done two music videos before for my Danie Nel music. Below is the last one… varying degrees of success… and before that a monster project of note with illustrating the video in Photoshop, on a touch-pad mouse! Again, none of these were really planned with any form of output in mind, but sort-of slapped together, off-the-cuff…. I suppose not too different from the one I just did for Crashtackle.

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Recording the video was very funny, doing everything myself, playing, directing, shooting, etc. You do, or at least I, felt a bit like a mental case, running around, running two cameras, checking focus on a mic-stand the was my stand-in,  switching on the guide-track music, running to the spot and then “performing” my heart out on unplugged instruments.

The concept of the clips of Scriptures come from the passages that inspired some of the lyrics. These I shot after all the performance bits the next day. The other add-ins, non-performance clips, if you will, was literally just stock clips I had shot previously, time-lapses and the like and just threw it in. No thought behind those! It just supported the atmosphere I was going for, so I thought what the heck. Non-narrative videos work for Anton Corbijn, so why can’t I?

Anyways, if I had budget, help and whatnot, imagine what one can come up with for another music video…

You can stream this tune, and the first release, “Jeremiah’s Complaint”, download or share it here:

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Wedding T+L Dec 2013

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A noon-day wedding in high summer in Cape Town is always a challenge, but luckily for me, this time around there was a poplar forest at the venue and I could pull this couple into the forest, away from harsh light, and heat, and get some beautiful pics. Herewith some of the highlights.

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

RIP Nelson Mandela

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You cannot turn your head this past week, without seeing some likeness of Nelson Mandela somewhere, alas, not even my blog.

I never had the privilege of meeting this man, I only heard what a great presence he had about him. I watched on TV when I was 12 years old, as he walked out of the gates of Victor Verster Prison in Paarl. I heard all the apprehensive, fearful, hopeful, worried, optimistic and confused opinions flying about for the next ….well, 24 years.

I heard the “Now they’re gonna chase us [white people] into the  sea” to the newly liberated opinions of white people who for years were quietly very opposed to what was going on, but were afraid to speak. I have enough memory and experience of Apartheid to realise what has transpired when Nelson Mandela handled  things the way he did. I have seen many ardent supporters of Apartheid look back and say, that wasn’t right, and that Nelson Mandela is an amazing man.

He wasn’t perfect, he wasn’t even always right, as a politician, but we couldn’t have asked for a better human being to become our first democratically elected president. We could’ve ended up with a justifiably cheesed-off, angry, vengeful president, clouded by personal hatred and agendas, much like our northern neighbour, Zimbabwe, did. What we got was someone who at times must’ve felt like chasing the the opposition into the sea and just be done with it, but rather chose the much much harder road of reconciliation. His decisive and intentional actions to promote reconciliation, and not revenge, will never be over-emphasised. As a Christian, this wins my respect. I am very grateful for that.

The images above must be the one that endeared him most to his pale skinned countrymen. Stroke of genius, is all I’ll say. I love that image to no end. What a day.

Through my career, however, I have photographed a bunch of his contemporaries, and associates, struggle comrades and the like.

Even though I never met him, I photographed his wife Graca Machel, at his home in Cape Town, a number of years ago. I was able to sit in his couches, see the scores of awards and tokens of appreciation displayed around the house and get searched more thoroughly by the security personnel than I ever even did in Libya, under Gadaffi! She was professional, dynamic and very impressive.

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Emeritus Archbishop Desmond Tutu is quite a quirky character. Witt and charm and tenacity is certainly part of his make-up. I’ve photographed him twice. Once at his office (images below) for an article, and another time at a TB awareness campaign in Gugulethu. I would like to say we had a lot of time to share and talk, but simply this was not the case. I had about 3 minutes to shoot. He kept saying, “Ok, that it? Another one? Ok ok ok. Ok. Another one? Ok, done now, Done now.” He then shook my hand and shuffled off to see to more pressing matters than smiling into my camera. He was polite and friendly. I hope I get to shoot him again. With my camera. And chat.

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If you’ve seen “Invictus”, are South African or have read a bit, you’d know about the relationship of Madiba with Francois Pienaar, Springbok Rugby captain in 1995 who led the Springboks to become Rugby World Champions the first time they were allowed into the tournament. He is the dude in the pic at the top of the page. Down-to-earth, impressive guy.

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Cyril Ramaphosa, the MC at Nelson Mandela’s funeral (today, as I write this, the ceremony is being carried out over a big flat-screen TV from the FNB Stadium, Soweto), was another very influential contemporary I had the privilege to photograph a couple of years back. Also, a very charismatic guy, very approachable, and a powerful businessman to boot. By the way, that’s another feat that Mandela managed, turning hard-core socialists into even better capitalists!

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My assistant at the time, Philip, got this very cool pic of the two of them afterwards.

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Johnny Clegg, the White Zulu, internationally acclaimed recording artist, and supporter of Nelson Mandela during the Apartheid years. He wrote the well known ASIMBONANGA in 1986 as a tribute to Nelson Mandela. (at that time imprisoned, and kept out of the media completely).

Barry  van Zyl, drummer for the Johnny Clegg Band, remembers it like this in his newsletter 2013/12/10:

The song was banned by the South African government, but became a hit in Europe, Canada and the USA.

we have not seen him
we have not seen Mandela
in the place where he is
in the place where he is kept

In 1999 on my first outing with the Johnny Clegg Band we got a dose of Madiba Magic while onstage in Frankfurt.


We were playing Asimbonanga and after the first verse the crowd roared which delighted us, thinking they loved the show so much.
A few seconds later we realized that the applause was aimed at Nelson Mandela doing his famous jive across the stage toward Johnny!
After we were done, he insisted on shaking hands with every band member, and then asked us to repeat the entire song!

See it here:

I photographed Pallo Jordan, then minister of Arts and Culture, at parliament also.

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These are just some of them. I photographed Jeff Radebe, and various other role-players in the Struggle.

So, Madiba left his magic through-out my career, nevermind the fact the I studied photography at what was a traditionally black institution, my lecturers being anti-apartheid activists, my best friend since 1996 being a guy of colour, and that I have the freedom to associate and befriend whoever I like.

So, the theory goes that we’re all separated from others in the world, by  six degrees. Well, in my line of work, and once you’ve met some of Nelson Mandela’s friends, it drops down to like 2 or 3.

Rest in Peace, Nelson Mandela.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Shooting Loki Rothman

Loki Rothman is a solo music artist from Cape Town, a session guitarist for the likes of Jack Parow and Die Antwoord, a producer and guitar teacher. His singles have been in heavy rotation on national and local stations, and once you listen to it, you’ll understand. Co-produced by DJ HiTek of Die Antwoord, there is no shortage of credentials behind this guy.

He contacted me to get his publicity pics done and also some images for his latest single “Clocks”.

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I’m not going to go into too much detail of the technical specifications of the shoot etc. Basically he gave me a good brief, on what he needed for the CD cover, for publicity and for his equipment endorsements. We booked a day in the studio and had Joleta Keane come do the make-up. What was clear from the moment I met him in a coffee-shop, and take note aspiring musicians and artists and entrepreneurs; he was all business. Prepared, researched, diligent and clear with what he wants. Professional and a really hellavu nice bloke. 20130730_0065i My own hand-painted backdrop. This backdrop has seen Bryan Habana, Bismarck du Plessis and some really interesting individuals in-front of it.

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Endorsement pictures need to show gear, person and attitude. In that order.

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Loki is a pop musician (almost no guitars), plays on stage with a hip-hop act, studies jazz and classical guitar, and can session in a whole lot more genres. Thus, his image is varied, and we need to take that into account for his different marketing approaches.

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The studio set-up was fairly simple.

 

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Loki is also sponsored by Puma, so images needed to bring this across.

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Next up was the images for the CD-cover. He had a distinct idea what he wanted, which made it easier for me to focus on getting that exactly (or at least vibe-wise gettting it exactly). We could then work on options.

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An interesting quirk about Loki is that his fingers on his right hand are slightly disfigured. Now if you consider this guy’s skill on guitar (especially his finger-style playing), it is quite amazing. He also doesn’t mind showing if off as you can see.

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Loki had the idea of blowing some smoke. We took lots of pics. He had his intake of nicotine for the year sorted in about 15 minutes of shooting. So did I. And so did Joleta’s yet unborn son at the time, Aiden. Considering his name means “fire”, it is fitting I suppose!

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Anyways, after hours of makeup and shooting, we had a nice collection of images in the bag!

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Team Shoot Loki. Good fun as always.