Friday, March 27, 2009

Food at Jenny Morris

Recently we did a 2 day shoot at Jenny Morris's Giggling Gourmet's Playground . The client was Catapult Advertising for Swartland Wines.

The team consisted of Jenny Morris, the Giggling Gourmet herself, Brita du Plessis, food stylist, Jennifer, food assistant, Morne Botha, chef, myself and Jeremy as the photography contingent and Michelle van Staden for Catapult as art director and Suzanne Van Dyk for Swartland. As I can't say too much about the yummy food or the images themselves, all I can say is that it was a mad couple of days, with lotsa laughter, great creative synergy and really good food.

This was one of those shoots where one it just became clear to me again that if you want to be a pompous, arrogant, difficult, controlling, self-absorbed, angry photographer, Cape Town is not your market. You might get away with it on big budget productions facilitated here, but you're not going to be making a living as a Cape Town based artist. In the creative environment good vibes, manners and general "niceness", however offensive that might seem to some hard-core individualists, are essentials. How can one enjoy this career if you've got your head stuck up your own intestinal tract and only ever happy to scream and shout at those around you? If you are such an individual, you probably get booked through an agent. As for me who roams this industry, representing myself, that just won't do.

I appreciate it very much when people tell me I was very accomodating and "easy" to work with, really I do, and don't take it for granted, but it leaves the question: how difficult are  photographers? I've never had in all my time of assisting or working as a pro for almost 10 years, ever encountered such an individual, but unfortunately have heard rumours and had someone even once tell me that if I was half as difficult as the previous photographer they've used, they're giving up on photography and buying stock or illustrations!

I've photographed some seriously powerful individuals in the business, entertainment and political world. The common denominator? Seriously good people skills. Generally those have almost made it act as if they're the only ones that have ever made it, and those who actually have, act like they didn't. Weird, but true. I've only heard really cool things about industry greats like Anton Corbijn, Annie Leibowitz, Chase Jarvis, David Lachapel and the like. I'm sure everyone has an off-day, heaven knows I've had them, but it only makes sense to me that the better the vibe, the better the results. Just one listen to Christian Bale's palaver on the set of Terminator 3 at the DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY, no less, made me realize that it doesn't matter who you are and how you see yourself, if that's you, I'm not interested in working for or with you.

And if that's me...., I'm pretty certain you won't be working with me.

Here are some images from our shoot and I'll sneak one foody image in. Unfortunately final styled images I'll leave out.

20090203_9_29 Yummy...

20090203_122i Suzanne (Swartland), Jenny, Brita, Morne doing their thing.

20090203_207lr Jeremy and Jenny (yes strobists, it's all Speedlight, baby. Final images were lit with Visatec's)

20090204_495i Ladies and gentlemen, Jeremy Puren.

20090204_530lr Time for some fish-eye madness. It's always great if someone is willing to let you play on a portrait. The warping suits the whole comedy/light-hearted approach of the Giggling Gourmet.

20090204_535lr Jenny and Morne.

20090204_538lr Yes, I had to take one of me as well.

20090204_545lr Jenny

20090204_595lr There is always time for some air-guitar. Always.

20090204_596i Me, Jeremy, Jennifer, Jenny, Brita, Morne

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

OK, I can brag a bit

As some of you might know, I dabble in music as a songwriter and recording artist. The aim is not to make a living from it, but definitely to get some good tunes out there. It is therefore that I am very proud to announce that my tune "Morning" was picked/voted as Garageband ( 's TRACK OF THE DAY 11 March 2009 - ACOUSTIC GENRE. This is a biggish deal... they have thousands and thousands and tens of thousands of songs on rotation.

To view, click on the badge:


As you can imagine, I'm very chuffed with this. The last recognition I got was from 2 years ago for #8 on their charts for Mercury River, and Harde Hout at #17 before that.

Go and have a listen!

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Assistant Position

It's that time again. Jeremy will very sadly be leaving Danie Nel Photography to endeavour into the fields of art in which he trained. He will be sadly missed, but that is how things go. We have had a load of fun, done some exciting work together and I'm glad I'll be seeing him regularly at church and also in the industry.

Now, the problem is that with such a cool assistant leaving he has left a gap that needs to be filled, but finding somebody to match his skills and enthusiasm will be hard... So who is up to the task?

I "re-publish" my initial ad that I placed upon which I appointed Jeremy. Position is available from 1 April.

Here goes the ad:

I'm employing an assistant/digital asset manager. That's geekspeak for someone who'll need to manage my digital workflow (Adobe CS3 - you'll be getting to know RAW 4.3 really well), image archive and stock image collection, take some of the deliveries of my hands, help on shoots (you must be able to carry gear, I'm sorry, so if you're not willing to lugg... not the job for you), be nice enough to make me a cuppa as well when you're making one for yourself and generally need to be agreeable, easy to get along with, motivated, and in it to help build my company. Basically, an all-round studio assistant.

Requirements: A driver's license, Adobe Photoshop CS2-3 experience/training, basic PC skills and professional work ethic essential. A small portfolio of Photoshop retouching work will score you some points, and so will some knowledge of video post production (for future reference). Your own transport to and from work essential. Deliveries will be via company vehicle. The pay will be for a junior person, so Thomas Knoll, Steve Jobbs, Bill Gates and Annie Leibowitz probably need not apply. The Attitudious, arrogant, selfishly ambitious and disloyal need not apply (oh and those who expect to listen to Justin Timberlake on the studio CD-player). Go find a ladder somewhere else to climb and manipulate.

So what can I offer except a dry sense of humour, a black studio working environment and free coffee and tea (rooibos, chai, ceylon)? You'll learn more than at school. I got the diploma and everything, so trust me. An easy-going boss. Your own personal email account (!!!!). An exciting work environment, where you'll meet lotsa cool people, rub shoulders with others in the industry, free advice and if you play your cards right, your own coffee cup. You'll be working with images, people and things in the automotive, PR, food, interiors, advertising, publishing, music and wedding industries. The pay isn't much, but I want you to be able to eat. That'll be negotiated with final candidates.

Please submit your CV's via email to or fax at 0866542641. Final candidates will be communicated to. If you want to assist other photographers on a freelance basis (and not apply for this position), feel free to drop your details and expertise in the comment box here so other photographers can get your details.