Category Archives: music

New Work: Richard Seba, singer-songwriter

I met Richard on a very unrelated family function, being his grandparents-in-law and my parents friends’ 50th wedding anniversary, and when he needed some photographs to accompany his first record we decided to collaborate. At first I wasn’t really sure of where to do the shoot so about a week prior I went on a drive looking for a cool location. I found a derelict, abandoned mansion just a few minutes from where I live and decided that was the perfect place to shoot. Although we couldn’t actually get in the building the grounds were rather enchanting, quiet and provided us with enough privacy to simply get on with it.

KVZ-5134I

KvZ-5205

Be Sweet

Greg Dulli’s voice is filling up my room. Nice. No one can beg and plead in such a seductive way as he can. Well some, but not a lot:) This should help my mood on this dreary, grey December day. Oh well. Bears have the right idea – hibernation.

At the close of 2011 I entered the Mono Competition by Gomma Books and filed an application for an artist residency in Cape Town. Fingers crossed it will work out:)

For you photographers out there the Sony World Photographers – Open Competition is also still open. The deadline is on January 4, 2012. And kudos to Gomma Books and Sony for not charging an entry fee.
I don’t know about you, but I am totally ready for 2011 to be over and 2012 to start. I just know adventures are waiting:)
The title comes from the album ‘Gentlemen’ by, you guessed it, the Afghan Whigs.
The photo above is one of Lauren Fowler, a hugely talented illustrator from Cape Town. You can see her work at www.laurenfowler.co.za

Jamal Thomas Band

I was very fortunate to be asked to do a photo shoot with the Jamal Thomas Band a little while ago. Jamal Thomas (1954, U.S.A.) is a drummer who has shared the stage with  Maurice White (Earth, Wind & Fire), The S.O.S band and to this day still tours with Maceo Parker.

In 2009 Jamal met the young talented drummer Alex Bernath and decided to form the Jamal Thomas band.

For more information about the band visit their website http://www.jamalthomas.com

The Rambling Life Fantastic

“You see, I have a strange serendipitous relationship with Hot Water, but I don’t think they actually know this. Looking back it seems that I always see them around the time of changes in my life.”

Those are my words, written when I interviewed Donovan Copley for Portfolio Collection’s Travel Blog nearly two years ago (full interview here: Talking To Hot Water – Connecting The Dots Through Life And Music). Strangely and amazingly enough, those words are still true. I saw them perform in The Hague this past weekend and it occurred to me that once again, decision-making and the changes that come with that, are on the horizon. Self-inflicted deadlines and self-inflicted limits between failure or success. Why do we do that? How does it happen that one loses faith when first you had the conviction to that what you felt and thought were right? It’s easy to point the finger at others, blaming them for messing with your head, while in fact those voices have always been there and it never stopped you before. Not making decisions has a paralyzing effect on me. I do know that there is only one way back from to and that is to get back on the proverbial horse. I hope it rears up and gallops straight into the fields of possibility.

In case you were wondering about the Hot Water gig last Saturday, it was awesome as always. The band consisted of Donovan Copley (vocals, guitar), Ronan Skillen (didgeridoo, various drums), Andre Schwartz (drums), Soubry Makupula (back up vocals) and I am ashamed to say I don’t know the bass players name. They played, roughly, for an hour and half with songs from their 3 albums. During one of their new songs ‘Lekker Sakkie’ they invited people to come up on stage for a dance contest, a “langarm” dance contest at that. Unsurprisingly, there were not many people in the house who knew what “langarm” was, in fact there was only one couple, a guy from P.E. and is girlfriend. Not surprisingly:)

I hadn’t seen them perform in over a year, and it was cool hearing some new songs as well as a Bob Dylan cover, watching Soubry dress up as a woman and Donovan climbing up onto the rafters during the encore ‘Tribal Man’.

Climbing up onto the rafters… to get a new perspective on things, perhaps? See, I told you I always seem to meet them when the times are a changing. Soon, I’ll be wearing shades:)


The photos photos were taken on Red Hill, just outside Simon’s Town, on a cold winter’s day. The title comes in part  from the Man Man song ‘Life Fantastic”

Jail La La

Two videos, just because it’s Friday. The first is by the Dum Dum Girls. I remember sitting in my Woodstock kitchen last year, editing pics to this song. That worked well. Somehow, the song and monochrome video make me want to more music shoots. Wandering the streets with some band looking for cool places to shoot is a very, very good way to spend one’s day.

The other is a video by the Foals. I was going to post ‘Olympic Airways’ but ended up with ‘Spanish Sahara’ instead. The first has some really nice grading in some places though… I simply liked the latter song better.

For no specific reason I have ‘Der Himmel über Berlin’ on my mind. No, not that dreadful remake starring Nicholas Cage and Meg Ryan, but the original Wim Wenders movie. That movie where they mix up color and monochrome sequences to indicate a human’s point of view vs that of the angels, featuring Bruno Ganz and The Birthday Party. That movie. The cinematographer was 77 year-old Henri Alekan, who apparently used a very old and fragile silk stocking that had belonged to his grandmother as a filter for the those sequences. I’ve been told that photographer Anton Corbijn used a similar trick in the early days. I tried it a couple of times as well but never quite got the same effect, maybe because I attached the stocking to the enlarger in the dark room, perhaps one is supposed to pull it over the lens. I don’t know.

I think being a cinematographer must be wonderful. Thinking in moving images instead of stills seems interesting and challenging. Making sure all frames are good is very different than shooting singles. It’s also a very different way of telling stories, one that is becoming more and more important for photographers to add to their portfolio. Fortunately for me, opportunities to learn all about film making are shimmering in the distance, like hot tar on a desolate American High Way. Best thing is, that opportunity is real and not fading in said distance as a trip to the South of France which seems to be falling apart at the seems at the moment, but that’s a different story for a different day.

Both bands, btw, are signed to American label Sub Pop. Yes, the label from Seattle. Seattle, the city where I once spent a very happy and hazy week of just hanging out, drinking local beers and watching local bands. It’s time to get back into the swing of shooting bands. I have 6 lined up already. In South Africa. I just need to get there. Can’t be that hard. Have a great weekend all.

Black Lips and coffee

Yesterday was a good day. I hung out with my friend Suzannah on her new rooftop terrace, while sipping Savanna’s in the late afternoon sun. This is always a good thing, obviously. That was after I met up with another friend for coffee and before I met up with Miss P from the Beyond Culture Foundation about a possible collaboration on my Swimming Upstream project. It looks promising as we are both interested in collaborating. I just need to figure out how to tie it all together. And when.. I got home tired and cold as it seemed to be below zero on the train at 1.30 am.

As for the rest of the week; finished editing a photo shoot, entered the Ernest Cole Award competition, sent out my project proposal, submitted work to different magazines, ran 50 km’s and am backing up my files as we speak. I’ll pay a visit to the Dutch Doc Days tomorrow.  I am interested in seeing Teun Voeten‘s documentary on ‘Tunnel People’ and the screening of ‘Looking for an Icon’.

The sun is out, I’m listening to the Black Lips ‘Arabia Mountain’ and sipping coffee. It’s a good day to sit on some ideas before I make decisions next week.

The photo, btw, is of the talented dancer/choreographer Marijke de Vos from Teddy Shouldn’t Smoke.

Have a cool Friday all.

The Pop Culture Issue

Yesterday saw the publication of Coup Magazine‘s Pop Culture issue and yay, my photo of couturier Hendrik Vermeulen was featured in the Creative Space alongside Jeremy Nell, Conrad de Jong and several others.

You can find a mini bio on each participant on page 40.

Been listening to the new Death Cab For Cutie album ‘Codes and Keys’ as well as ‘Smoking in Heaven’ by English band Kitty, Daisy and Lewis.

The Asteroids Galaxy Tour

This is the gorgeous Mette Lindberg, singer for Danish band The Asteroids Galaxy Tour. Their first single “The Sun Ain’t Shining No More” was released some time in 2008. Most of you may know them from Apple’s I-pod Touch commercial for which their song “Around the Bend” was used. Go check them out. They are great live!

www.theasteroidsgalaxytour.com

This Charming Man

I just found this interview with Flemish photographer Stephan Vanfleteren on youtube. He is one of my favorite contemporary portrait photographers and thought I’d share. It’s very interesting to hear him talk about how he likes to take his time to do a portrait and that he kind of prefers shooting strangers. I also really like how he according to him, he finds Dutch photographers very direct. They know exactly what they want and go for it while he prefers taking his time and letting things “grow”. What he says makes perfect sense to me…

I suppose it’s a pity the interview is all in Flemish but for those of you who understand it, I’d say it’s a good thing. The accent, the choice of words… I’m telling you, Lieve Vanleeuw, those men from Flanders… ai:)

Oh and isn’t it a gorgeous exhibition space?

Check out some of the Flemish bands as well: The Sore Losers, dEUS, Triggerfinger, Daan, Millionaire and anything with Mauro Pawlowski… like I said, men from Flanders:)

Dazzled kid, pigs and pics

In an attempt to change my attitude and be a little bit happier, oh and because it actually may be fun, I decided to enter some images into a photo competition. Two competitions even… I have only done this once before and never even heard back. Oh well.. new days and all that. The theme of the one festival, Foto Festival Naarden, is ‘Portraits’ which, yay, is right up my alley. It is what I do after all. Should be easy enough to find something good enough to enter… I look for the Rules & Regulations.
 
“All photos must be taken between January 2009 and January 2011.” No problem. One can submit 1-5 images. Also not a problem. When submitting a series, the photos must form an “unbreakable unit”. Oh. I don’t do series that well. Stand alone images are more my forte than series but then again Swimming Upstream is my attempt at a series so I should be able to find something. I read on… Sub Themes… Oh #2… there are 8 of them but ai, there isn’t that much choice at all for me as I hardly fit any of the themes. In fact, I only fit one.
 
 The sub themes are Bare Essence (nudes), Famous Heads (your own visual interpretation of someone famous), Just Me (selfies), Second Skin (people in uniforms), Photoshop Mania (go PS wild), Polaroid vs SmartPhone, Studentenwerk (whatever you are working on at Art School) or On Going Project.
 
That only leaves one category for me, as I don’t have any nudes, I have famous people or well-known people but they aren’t Dutch, I don’t like doing self portraits and therefore have non, I use Photoshop but don’t go wild which could be a reason to enter into this category as I could be part of the low-end of the Photoshop spectrum but I am assuming there are looking for all out photoshopped images. Then there is the Polaroid vs Smartphone one well ugh… I like the idea of an established photo festival trying to incorporate smartphones etc but well… I don’t have a smart phone or a Polaroid so that possibility is out as well. I am not at the Academy of Art nor have I ever been at the Academy of Art which leaves On Going project as the only possible category.
 
 Cool. On Going Project it is then. It’s what Swimming Upstream is and hey, maybe it’s not a bad thing to only fit into one category. Kinda how things are for me anyway. I want this, not that etc…
 
Back to Rules & Regulations. Besides fitting into any of the categories one must either be a student at an established School of Art, belong to a professional photographer’s association (I don’t but could join one today and enter the competition tomorrow), belong to a photo agency (aaah Duncan? Help:-) uhmmm ok I belong to World Portraits and will be included in The Imaginarium’s database), be able to name a professional reference (wtf.. what does that even mean? I’m sure I can?), won stipends or grants etc (nope) and/or have exhibited one’s work… phiew… finally YES. Cool.
 
What’s next? Ah… 35 euros entrance fee. For someone as broke as I am 35 euros may as well be 3,500 euros as zero money is zero money but oh well it can’t be that I can’t do this over some silly entrance fee so I’ll make it work. Somehow.
 
Now this turns out to be a really nice bridge to my next uhm… “dilemma”. The friend’s mother I mentioned in September Girls sent me an email looking for some images and is willing to pay for them, however, she is not looking to buy a printed and framed photo but a high res image and wonders what would it cost. Good question and great, except that it feels very wrong to ask her for money. It feels wrong for a couple of reasons. If she was buying a physical product where there are actual costs involved it is easier to charge money. Let’s say she does want to buy a framed image, then I’d have something to hand over to her and that she could put on the wall. Now it is simply sending an email on my side and she still has to drive to town to get something printed and framed and all costs are on her side. The other thing is, that my friend has been a huge help in my project and well, a friend. Charging his mother just feels wrong. And my final thing is, seeing how I don’t have an SA bank account but a Dutch one most of the money would get lost in international transfer fees. Guess the answer would be to charge her 35 euros… but the transfer fees are more than that… Ugh.
 
Any suggestions, ass kickings or any comments of the “stop whining” or “get your butt into gear” are welcome:-)
 
I am now going to come up with a selection to send in…Have a vague idea of which ones but not sure at all yet.  It’s going to be a “kill your darlings kind of day” I’m sure…
 
Listening to Suarez (easy French folk pop), Dazzled Kid and White Lies. And still backing up files of the last 6 months. Have cleared out 38 gigs so far… Also have to go to a temp agency today…
Oh and the photos: top is Tristan Waterkeyn, then Tshepo Moche and bottom one S.A. Partridge and Timothy Lester. About time to do some new shoots:-)