Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Day 2 – MDR-TB tour of SA, Gugulethu

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So, day 2 of the MDR-TB tour in Cape Town, took delegates to houses in Nyanga, Gugulethu and then the primary school in Gugs, for an activation of the KickTB campaign, run by the Desmond Tutu Foundation. Fortunately, I had the opportunity to shoot the man again. He was fun, accommodating and patient with the throngs of journalists sticking lenses in his face, or all the overseas journo’s just wanting to shake his hand. We forget, he’s like Martin Luther King JR, and has achieved quite a bit more… When you’re close to greatness, you tend to miss the scale thereof. And by that I don’t just mean he’s a short man.

And game as he is, he even kicked a ball at goal as part of the proceedings! The goalie was in the way, but who cares, not a lot of us will ever see that again!


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If you’ve ever been in the townships of South Africa, or elsewhere, I have found here, and in Libya (where it’s a tad more risky to do so), that children here are so gregarious and confident, that they make the most awesome portraits. My own children is a source of endless photographic pleasure, but Xhosa kids are so gorgeous, and expressive, that you almost always end up with a winner… as long as you point your camera in their general direction.

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The MDR-TB patients also impressed me. A disease like that is often misunderstood, and because of the highly contagious nature thereof, it’s often the case that the people become ostracised, at least for the period that they are in treatment. Having a bunch of foreigners throwing questions at you in all manners of English accents, when your own command of the language is minimal, in a shack no bigger than 3x3, with all your living necessities and a low ceiling in 35 deg C heat, all wearing facemasks, looking like they’ve entered a radio-active zone, acting just a tad too afraid of possible attacks (the security people made sure the fear of God was instilled in these visitors, to keep them from straying from the group!), asking sometimes somewhat strange questions like “Do you have friends?”, can be just a tad unsettling. Yet, they faced this inconvenience and shared about their lives, their HIV-statuses, life and all manners of personal information, in order to help others understand the plight of these individuals. 20110125_0159 blog 20110125_0054 blog  20110125_0231 blog  20110125_0306 blog 

After the school event, which took place in tremendous heat, with no shade for the poor kids, who obediently took part and sat quietly, the whole group was returned to the airport, where they were all dumped on an unsuspecting Spur restaurant, which unfortunately, did not do us proud in prompt service. However, the Cheesy Quesidillas were divine, and almost made up for the wait.

The group is continuing its tour through South Africa and Swaziland for the rest of this week, but unfortunately, I won’t be joining.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Some pics from today – TB Clinic, Gugulethu


Just thought I’d drop a couple of pics online, from a shoot I’m currently working on with Lilly/MDR-TB Tour of South Africa. I’m covering the Cape Town part of an educational/media event for foreign journalists. I just finished uploading today’s images to the client’s server, and thought I’d drop you a couple of pics here before I go grab a couple of hours of sleep. The reason for that is that not a great many people know that I enjoy a bit of documentary photography quite a bit actually. Anyways, enjoy.

All images at Gugulethu NYI Clinic, Gugulethu, Cape Town.

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As it is a TB treatment facility, those of us not on TB treatment are obviously expected to wear a face-mask. This is what I ended up looking like… Donald Duck? I also think it’s upside down.


Friday, January 14, 2011

Wedding J&L – On the Rocks


Now, the irony of the title has but almost escaped me, but just to be clear: no, their marriage is not on the rocks, but they did get married at an establishment with that name, in Bloubergstrand. Rather than go into all the details of how I got to know J, and the similarities in our conviction regarding purity before marriage, I’ll rather just say: great couple, lovely time, great venue, great fun shooting the pics. Herewith some notes and pics of the day.


All the tables on the day were named after books in the Bible, rather than be given numbers. Hooglied (Song of Songs), was appropriately reserved for the bride and groom. It also created good opportunities for juxta-posed pics later on, at the reception.

Outside, where the ceremony was happening, the mid-morning sunshine presented its own challenges, but when given lemons, make lemonade, is what I choose to think. Or the rule of the Ninja: the environment is your friend (bought from the idea that anything is fair game in a fight, including chairs or whatever else is in your immediate environment). In my case, rather that try and wish away the current set of circumstances, I’d rather see if there is not a way to work around it. In my case, some nice off-camera flashing and different angles did the trick.



On the cake-front, I was very surprised to see Kanya Hunt, a food stylist and cake-confectioner par excellence I have worked with on such projects as the Rooibos Cookbook, A Touch of Rooibos, and other consumer cookbooks. As usual, the cake was a delicate but beautiful piece of chocolate mastery that made me wish somebody would drop it on the ground so I can apply the 5-second rule. But gladly, nobody did!




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J’s groomsman was nice enough to write “HELP ME” on the soles of his shoes, so that when they knelt at the altar, well, the whole world got a message from him. He took it in good spirits though, it we decided to capture one or two shots around that. As you’ll notice throughout the pics, we were shooting right at noon, but that, if handled properly, can lend a nice lively feel to all the images.

When shooting on the beach, the sand actually does help to lift shadows somewhat, by I like using my off-camera flashes as well, hence I travel a little heavier than other photographers, and I have back-problems to boot, but I believe the results is worth it.

The wind was picking up at one stage, but as I have explained before, I find this actually helps images. Dresses and hair “sway” in the wind, giving that romantic look at bit more authenticity.

Watch this space for some more exciting projects I had a hand in in December and early January.



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