Friday, July 23, 2010

Annual Report – University of the Western Cape

For the last 2 years, we’ve  been contracted by UWC to shoot their recruitment, general research publication portraiture and also annual report and marketing imagery. To say that I know the campus well now, would be a gross understatement. On a particular day I remember walking the breadth of the campus probably a good 4 times. If you know the size of the campus, you’ll understand that we’re talking a lot of steps here. Also, we’ve had from 35 deg heat, to trudging in the rain and battling the howling South Easter, but it’s been fun. From technical, to architectural, to medical, to industrial, to portraiture, to landscapes, to photojournalism, to mug-shots, to interiors, decor, close-ups, concepts, books… it’s been a smorgasbord of photographic disciplines. And the students had to look happy, confident, learned, special, attractive, colourful, radiant… you catch my drift. We’ve recently completed images of the spectacular new New Sciences building, using HDR methods and simply just having good old fun. And serious amounts of elbow grease.

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The cool, but challenging thing is that through these many disciplines, you have to keep a constant thread of signature, or similarity, yet still make the documentary shots as evocative as Cartier-Bresson, the portraits Irving Penn-like, and the science shots like NCIS or CIS labs. By the way, anybody that’s ever been to an institutional science facility, would know that heaven knows where NCIS and CIS labs get their neon and luminous glow from. In real life it’s dreary, dull and smells. However, I loved taking the challenge of NCIS-ing it a bit. 20090820_011020090820_0022lr20090821_0215




There was one week, where we were on the campus for 3 days, walking the width and breadth through a number of times, grabbing only the most basic of foodstuffs from the cafeteria. Total amount of weight lost by end of that week? 3kg. And we were seriously hoping the security guys would lend us one of their electric car contraptions. 

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We also got stuck in an elevator with our chaperones for 20 minutes, took pics of Philip snuffing some unknown powder in the pharmacy department, being excited about suppositories and Philip mourning the sickness of a doll in the nursing department. Oh, and he was the model in the dentistry department. We have to stay sane as well, you know.

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Thursday, July 08, 2010

Music and Photography

For those who don’t know – although I’m pretty sure most do – I dabble in music through song-writing, playing a couple of instruments, recording and distributing my music online (3 Albums and counting). It’s purely a passion-thing and not geared towards making a living. My love for music photography also comes from this same passion, and it allows me to be around musicians, much like a drummer (lol). I’ve photographed the likes of Faithless, Ronan Keating and Live live.

I’ve had the pleasure of even shooting Miriam Makeba, Mandoza Self-and-Mandoza-2002-lo-re Yvonne Chaka-Chaka, Valiant SwartValiant Swart 2, Johnny CleggJohnny Clegg,  Arno Carstens,David Kramer David Kramer, playwright,singer,songwriter,performer
Date: circa 2002
Location: Danie Nel Photography Studio
Client: Danie Nel Photography "Wax Lyrical" exhibition series , macStanley (previously Flat Stanley)FS OSAW Inners,Theo Crouse Theo Crouse ,Jannie Moolman Jannie Moolman, opera singer,singer,performer. Images for his CD, "Ek kom huis toe"
Date: 12-10-2007
Location: Farm in Swartland, near Malmesbury
Client: JZM Productions , Koos KombuisKoos Kombuis, Semisane (remember them?)Semisane R2B1 , The Sunshines, Firing Squad, Ready D & MC Phat (RIP), Skallebrak, Tait Tait SMW_1  , James Stewart and Barry van Zyl Water-Sound , Schalk Joubert 20090219_149_1 , Francois van Coke Francois van Coke, lead singer of F*kofpolisiekar and Van Coke Cartel
Date: 07-08-2007
Location: Francois's residence, Gardens, Cape Town
Client: Insig Magazine, Lize Beekman Lize Beekman ,  Broers, Saron Gas (now the international Seether) SARONGAS.jpg , Perezperez , Van Zyl, Raemon (Germany), Denver Berman-Jacob, countless CD-covers, countless posters, countless articles… the list goes on. In fact, my first solo exhibition in 2001, Wax Lyrical, was only focused on musicians in Cape Town. 

Some of my favourite photographers are from the music genre: Jill Furmanovsky, Anton Corbijn, Annie Leibovitz, Zach Arias, to name but a few. Photography in music covers some of my favourite styles: rough incidental documentary, studio, creative portraiture and low-light imagery.

For a while now, myself and the guys from Streetlevel have traded studio time for studio time. Photography for recording, and this time around, I even got a bonus. James (an multi-instrumentalist, Grammy nominated songwriter and accomplished performer, also remembered  as the front-man for The Usual) offered to lay some bass tracks down and even possibly some keys and Barry van Zyl (better known as Johnny Clegg’s drummer; they’re also partners in Streetlevel Music Productions and Water Sound) some drums. Before, I did all the instruments, bar Chris Tait doing drum programming and laying some electric rhythm and bass on some tracks on “Painting with Light”. This time around I’m glad I have big cheeses again adding their bit. I can’t wait to hear their parts.

Calum Milne, one of the resident sound engineers at Streetlevel Music, based at Tully McCully’s Spaced Out Sound Studios, did the honours of recording me yesterday. He also did the tracks, which were recorded live to mic, on “Live to a mic”. I laid down acoustic guitars, electric rhythm, lead and solos, vocals and backing vocals on one of my newer tracks I wrote for FFW (a worship ministry at I serve inBYND 23 May 2010 4 as singer and bassist) and congregational worship. The song is called “Uit die wereld”, which in this context means out from the world and not out of this world as it might appear!

I’ve taken to virtual busking, so the song will soon be available for free/pay-what-you-want-download, so watch this space.

Anyways, here are some memories from yesterday’s session (see the whole album at my facebook page):

Pics by Philip du Plessis:

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You can connect with me musically at:

Danie Nel Music

Facebook Music