My Projects & Passion
A deep passion for photography is essential for success as a professional photographer. Without it, you risk being stuck in a difficult profession that you don't enjoy. But, equally important is the art of clearly communicating your passion to your prospects. I have spent 50 years behind a camera, I have retired from commercial shooting allowing myself to dedicate my skills to teaching and passing on my knowledge.
Knysna is a town in the heart of South Africa's beautiful Garden Route. Knysna lies nestled in between the Outeniqua Mountains and the Indian Ocean. There's a large lagoon that's perfect for water sports and surrounding forests that are great for walking, this makes it a haven for photography.
It is for this reason that we choose to set up our photographic business, we had been in business for fourteen years when we decided it was time to give something back to the residents of our small town, this is when the idea of Pen Pals was born.
Our company has been doing business in Knysna for the past 19 years and in 2010 we made a decision to support our local community in projects whereby there would be financial or knowledge sharing. Our first project was titled “The Ball and the Pen” which involved shooting a series of photographs taken in the townships of the Western and Eastern Cape with the accent placed on football. An exhibition was held and half the profit from the sale of the prints was donated to the Crossroads Ladies Football team in Hornlee, they received R23 000 worth of football kit.
In 2011 we decided to do a training project involving high school children. The project is titled “Penpals”. The name Penpals was derived from a famous camera manufactured by the Olympus corporation in Japan and it is the digital Olympus Pen. We recruited 6 kids in our first year and all candidates attended photographic classes once a week for approximately eight months. The cameras were sponsored by Olympus, the outings, the end of year exhibition and all additional camera equipment needed to make the course viable was sponsored by our company. We are presently in our fifth year of running this project and for the last two years we have kept back 2 of the students to act as facilitators for the new intake of kids. In 2011 one of our students, Jason Alie, was nominated “Best Sea Scout in South Africa” and was sent over to London to an international Sea Scout gathering. We managed to persuade Olympus to give Jason his own Olympus pen camera to take with him on the trip.
We have taken in a intake each year, this year is our seventh year.
Over the last few decades the phrase ‘street photography’ has come to mean a great deal more than simply taking images in a public place.
Essencially street photography is not reportage, it is not a bunch of images displaying together. For the street photographer there is no specific subject matter and only the issue of subject matter and life in the street, they don’t set out with an agenda and they don’t visualise their photographs in advance of taking them most ideas are spontanious.
Street photography is about seeing and reacting, to the situation in front of you at any given time.
I have my Fellowship in Documentary Street Photography FSAPP.
A few good tips, don't be afraid, allow your subject to walk into your frame and travel light and choose the right lens.
The Ball and The Pen
Aim of the project:
My first thought in doing the project was to prove that you could shoot a project of this nature with a compact style camera and receive top class professional results.
After travelling through all these rural areas and seeing the bad conditions that our young kids have to play the game of football, I decided that 50% of the income from the two limited edition prints would be used to establish some type of football situation in the townships of Knysna.
During our travels around the country we gave away 143 footballs, numerous packets of sweets and payment to the people being photographed. We also gave away various types of football shirts and will be presenting the Olympus team shirts to the guys that appear in the Donkey Cart photographs. This will hopefully be done next week by the Mayor of Knysna.
One of my first thoughts was that I would need a translator as we would be going into areas where the population would not necessarily speak English or Afrikaans and for this I employed my gardener Elvis Klaas. This turned out to be a great experience for him as he had never stayed in a hotel in his life or eaten in a restaurant and because of his strict Xhosa traditional beliefs John and I had to put Elvis through some serious training and habit changing styles related to some of these restaurants and hotels.
As I had also hoped to at a later stage get some press coverage on the project, I assigned John Deakin to photograph Elvis and myself working on the project.
The areas visited included Oudtshoorn, Calitzdorp, Paternoster, Knysna, Port Alfred, East London and Katberg.
R22000.00 worth of football kit was donated to The Cross Roads Football Team
My thanks go to Elvis & John for assisting me on the project and to Olympus, South Africa for donating the Olympus Pen EP1.