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Cover for MyWeek (R.I.P) of "co"-Idol: Sasha-Lee

So, 27 May we rock up at Canal Walk's "The Piazza" for a shoot with the initial, and then later co-winner, for Idols 2009 (South Africa). After having seen her perform just 2 weeks prior at the Table of Unity event on Table Mountain I was very impressed with her performance and singing. However, considering the hoo-ha about her winning and the botched count, and then her not winning but still.... I was more keen to just be part of the whole thing!

Well, she was very shy and quiet, and I've gotta say, the strain was showing. She was very cool to work with, very accomodating, humble, and obviously tired. Considering that just competing in the Idols contest is tough enough, then dealing with being crowned, the media, and then the furore, and more negative and hurtful press... I was glad we could offer something a bit more positive to her. She's only 18, so I'm sure having to deal with that rubbish is kinda hard. However, in Cape Town, it's pretty obvious that she's still champ. People don't even know what the other guy's name is. We had to schedule the shoot for early morning, because later in the day at a mall, it would be mayhem. At the TOU the kitchen staff practically swamped the stage when she performed, so on the demand of the agent, we organised it early. Also, I had another shoot shortly after in Gugulethu, so I didn't mind the early rise. My kids get my up shortly after 5 anyways!

After getting coffees (thanx Sean), sorting out wardrobe, setting up lightes, getting direction from Sean Robertson from MyWeek (if any mag people are reading - take your ques from this guy in how to direct photographers - he knows what he wants, but also gives enough space to photographer to co-create), and being told by a restaurant whose name rhymes with "mimi" that their loos are off-limits to us (?) - we got our coffee elsewhere! - we were ready to go. Since it was a regional mag, the cover had to show a recognizable feature of the Piazza, without looking way cheesy. We went for the dome in the background initially, although at this time the sun was starting to burn holes in our plan. Luckily my Lastolite was handy to keep the sunspots from Sasha-Lee.

Once we covered a couple of outfits, we went onto the next idea. The fountains had just been switched on so I opted to go shoot in the water. Everyone, except me, was a bit nervous about the proximity of a 1.2kj power source standing in a bit of water, but that's why you have art directors on a shoot - to keep the 15kg pack in the air. I'm sorry, but seeing a shot that entails some risk immediately attracts me, even if my Profoto head crashed spectacularly onto the wet ground and was saved only by the brolly. See our Bronx shoot to see what I mean. Also, by now, my shoes were wetter than a fish and I was shloshing around everywhere.

Having that shot in the bag, we just needed a wrapper. Something to tie it all together for option's sake. Sean directed us to the residential background, and we thought that might work, so we ambled over to the edge.  Having placed her on the wall's edge, we quickly got a couple of outfits shot, (thanx to Woollies for supplying the belt out of store on a moment's notice).

Ixesha limkile (Xhosa for "time has left us"), and I needed to get to Gugs fairly soon. We said our good-byes and off we rode into the urban sunrise.

What is the saddest part of this shoot? We won't see it published, as MyWeek was closed down shortly after, and all publications stopped immediately.

A thanx to all the really cool people I worked with, or even just spoke to over the phone, at MyWeek and assigns. Karen, Ilse, Sean, Asanda, Amanda (JHB), Terry, Igna and Candice. It was a GREAT mag, and it's a shame people higher up couldn't keep you going. See you around in the industry.

PS and (C) - MyWeek is still owned by Media24 Magazines, so anyone looking to copy or distribute these pics, all kinds of voodoo, nastiness, laws and penalties will come down on you if you use these pics without my AND the express permission of the publisher. BE WARNED.

PPS - I have been ripped off by internet pic thieves, so this is a pet peev of mine. Piracy is a threat and it is real. While I'm on a roll - get off those bit-torrent sites and start paying for your music, videos and software, damnit! Just because a BMW is expensive, are you gonna go and lift it off hijackers? Piracy steals from millions of people, and companies, earning a living of intellectual property. It you need to start stealing intellectual property, it certainly doesn't say a lot about your own.


Sir Don said…
Koel artikel, mooi meisie, mooi fotos!

I am going to disagree with you on piracy. It depends what you pirate. Pirating your pics, yes, wrong, and I wont. But it is a myth that piracy is hurting the music and movie industry and oh, MicroSoft. How rich do these people want to be. It's our way of protesting :)
Danie Nel said…
Hi Sir Don, thanx for the compliments, but sorry mate, your argument only holds water if you're a socialist, or a communist, and piracy would still be rather un-Marxist.

Who you're stealing from doesn't make it anything different than stealing. So, are you gonna start shoplifting Coca-Cola because they're rich? They thought of an idea, patented it and is making money. If you don't want it, don't use it. That is protest. Anything else IS STEALING. Stealing from the rich to our own comfort is very Robin Hoodish, and he was a crook anyways.

Yes, look at Taxi's info and articles on lay-offs of R&R's, label managers etc. Big music corporations are struggling, and so are some software guys. Microsoft might not, but then switch to Linux.

If you patent and idea that is worth millions, why don't just give it away? Or start working for free? Or if a homeless guy lifts you wallet, why complain? How rich (in comparison to him), do you wish to be?

Sorry bra, that argument is way outdated.
Sir Don said…
I support Coca Cola - even though they are rich - because their products are sold at reasonable prices, and their prices - to a large extent - is controlled by supply and demand and the pricing of their competitors.

However, someone like MicroSoft gets away with charging exorbitant fees because they destroy their opposition, thereby creating demand by forcing everyone to use their software. With software the supply is almost unlimited, it is not determined by how many copies of VISTA you're able to produce per month with X amount of employees. The final product can be copied billions of times. Unlike cars, sheep, apples, etc. With unlimited supply the costs should come down, but it does not, because it is fixed and not controlled by normal market mechanisms.

How capitalist is that?

Of course Microsoft (and their like) takes this even further by pulling you into a mad cycle of constantly purchasing upgrades, by cleverly phasing out support for software only a couple of years old, and by introducing incompatibilities between existing and new products.

I support other developers by purchasing their software, which is reasonably priced. I have even made donations.

While I cannot argue that stealing Microsoft software is the right thing to do, I doubt anyone could argue that Microsoft is playing by the rules of capitalism and actually the victim here.
Danie Nel said…
Your arguments on Microsoft's workings and mechanisms are duely noted, and I have the same experience of Adobe, but the question is indeed ethics. You might be one of the few who actually is ethical enough to pay for "reasonable" producers and defraud the unethical. Most pirates are fairly general, and will copy and pirate as a rule of thumb. This is what hurts the industry.

However, since ethics cuts both ways, my take on it is that one cannot right the wrong by another wrong. Pirating the software creates demand for software written to the same OS or specs. I would imagine rather supporting the OpenSource movement than copying is a much more ethical and probably productive agreement. That is however on the software side of things.

Music and video costs megabucks to produce, and the fact that digital content aren't tangible and returns infinity at some point, determining reasonable prices are still a supply/demand issue. If MS gets away with charging what they do, well, it means people consider it fair value, myself included. Music on the other hand, has gotten cheaper and more accessible since mp3's doesn't have to be bought as albums, but rather as selective tracks, which brings down costs. Why steal this? The return to live performance is fuelled by the drop-off in music sales, largely fuelled by piracy. Small and great alike suffer under this.

The last thought to savor is probably beside ethics, but rather an ethical dilemma. Pension funds, retirement investments and savings make up some of the greatest investments in companies like Microsoft. The share price of a company like that, supports often times, the very people trying to undermine it.
Sir Don said…
I buy a lot of music, because I like to own albums and support the artists, especially local artists. Around 8 out of the last 10 albums I bought was for local musicians. I have also bought quite a few songs from RhythmOnline.

Quite a lot of albums I've bought was as a direct result of downloading the mp3's first, or copying from someone, then listening to it, and if I like it enough, then go and buy the album(s).

I would probably buy twice as many albums if it cost R90 instead of R150.

I would also see 2 or 3 times more movies (on the big screen) if it cost R20 instead of R45.

I would even buy Code from Ster Kinekor if 500ml cost R8.50 instead of R18.

Some industries wants to rip consumers off while playing victim at the same time.
Danie Nel said…
As with the MS opinion you hold, one cannot argue the exorbitant prices we have to endure at times. However, being in an undercharged, (yet perceived overcharged) industry, one probably need to take a look at actually running costs of these enterprises. I shudder to think of the rental expense of Tygervalley's cinemas. However, there I think you hold the right position. Don't like the price, don't support it. Amen to the Cokes! I actually know what soda fountain Coke costs per litre, and I agree with you there.

As for using free mp3's as a means of sussing out artists - well, artists are catching onto that - go have a look at, etc, and you can access lots of free content legally. Again - you're not the question here, but rather piracy as a whole. You're one of the few who I suspect works in the digital arena and probably has more understanding for the workings thereof, but others do not carry the same thought into their piracy.

By large, piracy hurts the industry, and there is no disputing that fact. Is MS now less rich because of it, but still filthy rich? Yes. Record labels on the other hand are starting to fold. The question of ethics remains with: is it RIGHT? Not is it effective. Abstinence will always beat prevention. The same with market forces. Abstaining from products (I ran my studio on business opensource software for 6 years - I chose to go wit ha MS product for integration sake, but must say - OS is close 2nd) is and will be the most effective means of protest.

The music industry (I sell music through RhythmRecords as well) is largely moving towards indie music again, so the pricing mechanism will become more market-driven. Again, remember, that artists record albums on ADVANCES from record labels. They owe the record labels the recording and marketing spend on that record until they've paid for it by record sales. Little know fact is that guys like Craig David and one or two albums by other major artists, have left them in debt, and had to pay for those debts with live performance. To me, that says stealing is hurting people. Rich or not, the artist has every right, just as you and I, to try and make the best possible living of it. Liking the product does not entitle you to owning it. Unfortunately that lies at the heart of piracy - entitlement.

Coming back to photography - those who pay for the image are entitled to the license for it. If they pay for it, it means they agree it is fair value. IF they don't and still use it, even if the price is exorbitant, that voodoo I spoke off will come into effect.

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