Skip to main content

At Ronnie's Sex Shop

Now, for those who are not familiar with this institution would frown immediately and then start wondering about the morality of yours truly. For those aware of this institution, but virtue of either visiting it on the R62 between Barrydale and Ladysmith, or reading about it in pretty much anything from Conde Nast Traveler to Getaway to Weg, you probably just smirked. Recently, on my way to a shoot for Wine in Calitzdorp (a nice 850km round-trip plus shoot in a day), I had the oppurtunity to see the place for myself.

Some short history on the weird name and what it is. It's a bar. A very normal, slightly grotty, little pub in the middle of nowhere, just plonked down. Ronnie owns this piece of soil, and decided to open "Ronnie's Shop". His mates, one night after a drunken debate, decided that Ronnie's store would need some marketing impetus, and decided to paint in "sex" on his signage on the building. Well, the skidmarks, and evidences of hasty u-turns on the 500m of tarmac either side of Ronnie's, is proof that in fact, this piece of marketing worked fantastically. Choppers touching down next to it is apparently not uncommon.

It was about 9:30 and I've been on the road more than 3 hours, so I thought stopping there for a quick coffee and ham-tomato-cheese toast would revive me. It did. The smell of Klein-Karoo vegetation, the sound of the cool breeze and surprisingly good coffee set the pace for the rest of my day. On inspecting the bar/pub-area, I met "Not-Ronnie", also known as Hugo (see pics for explanation). I went to the loo where the graffiti on the walls, I must confess, was offensive to my general morality. I really do not need to know that a underage young girl had just been with her best friend's boyfriend etc etc. Then again, the name would draw this type of thing. The rest of the little establishment is quite charming, though. There are clothes and caps everywhere, hanging from the roof, a chess-board, a tv, post-cards and business cards, graffiti and whatnot adorning every nook and cranny. What caught my attention almost immediately was an old, warn, upright piano just gathering dust in the corner. On further enquiry from "Not-Ronnie", I was invited to sit down and jam a bit, which I under false protest was happy to do.  If only I was wearing a waist-coat and a ball-hat, I might as well have been in the Wild West, playing the honky tonk. A kind Gauteng gentlemen relieved me of my camera and proceeded to take some pics of me while I played.

After playing for a short while I considered decent (your own music is much like your own body odour, if you catch my drift) and proceeded to pay for my "to-go" Coke.  A startling R10 later I enquired after Ronnie, who I was informed would be in late because he was sleeping out a hangover. Ok. Though, as I was about to leave Ronnie, an old hippie with a long braid, beard, tie-die Ronnie's T-shirt and scruffy voice entered. I asked if I could take his picture, he complied and I got my Ronnie pic. I confirmed the legend about his mate's actions resulting in what is now one of the hottest spot on the R62 and he said yes, "stranger than fiction".

"Not-Ronnie" (aka Hugo) left, Ronnie (right)

Once outside I snapped a quick couple of shots of the establishment, jumped in my new little panel-wagon (only had it 2 days) and was half-an-hour late for my next appointment. The next appointment understood the circumstance and was glad I had a chance to see this.

Ah. If you can't enjoy the journey, then I don't know what the point of traveling is.


Popular posts from this blog

Dangerous Photography Jobs is taken from the above article, with permission:Photography can be a case of life or death. It may sound absurd, but professional photographers often go to great lengths and compromise their safety in order to get the perfect picture. Whether it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to photograph Mount Everest or a mission to cover the Iraq war, many photographers risk their lives just to do their job. Here are 10 dangerous photography jobs: Extreme Weather Photography
Extreme weather photographers aren’t storm chasers, but they do have an eye for photographing hurricanes, tornados, thunderstorms and other severe weather in their most vulnerable state. As you can imagine, this job is nothing short of extreme. Extreme weather photographers have to get close to the storm when everyone else is running from it, which puts them at risk for injuries and often death. BASE Jumping & Skydiving Photography

Portrait Shoot: Pierre van Heerden

So a number of years back I did a shoot of Pierre van Heerden, South African actor, musical performer, playwright and comedian, at my old studio. It was just for fun, really. I was exploring some portraiture ideas, for a project I was considering at the time. We had a great time shooting these, exploring some cool ideas as we spent the morning talking rubbish, laughing and drinking coffee.

Fast forward some years later, and he contacted me to do an update of the images, but this time for his book.

The images were meant for publicity purposes, his marketing material and such, but what I want to share here is just some of the expression shots we did once we had those in the bag. Working with an actor in stills is great, as they know their face, they know expressions and have a large selection of facial "skills" to employ for a portrait.

I would simply call out a bunch of emotions/expressions and he would comply each time.

The "30 second portrait" I made is an idea…


Herewith a little video I put together for Creation Wines's leg of Stage 2 of the 2017 ABSA CAPE EPIC MTB Race. #untamed