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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



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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.

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