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.