Category Archives: no worry

Stats and Dirty Skirts

I totally intended on writing a business plan today but got side-tracked. In all honesty though, writing the business plan itself is already an act of procrastination. A wise one though and one I should have done a long time. Writing the BP is taking my focus away from writing another proposal of which I have finished 60% of the work and perhaps I need a bit of a break before I finish.

The week started with good news; I sent some work to a South African magazine and was contacted by an Italian magazine and will now be published in both next month. I will reveal more when the publications are up. I keep a list of all the magazines I submit work to and I have come to the following conclusion;
– 20% of submissions is successful.
– 30% receives positive feedback but leads nowhere in the end for different reasons: magazines go belly up, editor likes it but editor in chief decides “no”, subject is too far removed from readers, sometimes literally so seeing how I am a Dutch photographer shooting SA artists etc. I must say all feedback is highly appreciated as it teaches me how editors look at the submissions they receive.
– 20% of “no” do send an automated reply message saying they received the work. I like this, at least I know I don’t need to re-send.
– 30% of “no” don’t get back to you in any shape or form (no automated replies, feedback etc).
I am wondering if a 20% success rate is reasonable or pathetic?
All I can compare it with are the design competitions (for new jobs, not awards) we entered when I was sill working at design studio Taluut. We aimed for 1 in 4, I’m hoping my 1 in 5 isn’t all that pathetic after all.

Speaking of statistics and the likes, I am highly amused by the site stats provided by WordPress relating to this blog, especially the search terms that have led to this blog. Now some make sense, like my name for example, or bands, photographers and exhibitions I blogged about. Some are understandable like “photographer Cape Town music” “kommetjie kite” or  “fashion shoot Bo-Kaap Cape Town” but how one gets here by entering “kid set up dinner table” or “dresscode Polana” I’ll never know.
And I am so not mentioning the “gay bears” 🙂
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200 Young South Africans

The Mail & Guardian published a list of 200 promising young South Africans last week. Congratulations to Sally Partridge for making it onto the Arts&Culture list and Sam Wilson for getting onto the Science & Technology list.

Feeling proud you’re taking part in the Swimming Upstream project!
You can see the full list right here:

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

Fox Hill Lane

Seeing how CultureBox blogged about me, I figured I’d blog about someone else in return. And blogging about one of the most talented and quite possibly one of the nicest people in the South African music industry seems like a good idea.

 I first ‘met’ Guy Buttery when the Greenhairmermaid took me to one of Guy’s shows at Monkey Valley in Noordhoek, some time in 2010. I had heard of Guy Buttery but had never heard any of his music. Needless to say, I am glad I went. Guy creates a musical landscape, occasionally looping his music as he plays, with just one guitar to mesmerizing effects. His version of Joanna Newsome’s ‘The Book of Right On’ is seriously awesome. Anyway, I’m crap at describing music so I’ll take a quote from the Mail & Guardian instead:

“… his music has a subtle grace and power all of its own. Though his technical prowess is also bewildering, Buttery immerses himself entirely into the soul of his guitar, coaxing sonic shapes and forms of such startling originality from it that his instrument acts as a kind of lightning conductor for the sound of another realm.”

Impressed with his music, I wrote him pretty soon after the gig asking if he’d be willing to take part in my project ‘Swimming Upstream’. He said yes:)

Originally from the Durban area, Guy made his way to Cape Town in 2009. Having studied jazz and classical guitar at the University of Kwazulu Natal as well as under Nibs van der Spuy, Guy soon found himself opening for Nibs in front of crowds up to 2,000 people. And at only 18 year of age, he was the youngest ever SAMA nominee for his debut album “When I grow Up”.

 We met up a while later at his house. I had asked him about places in or around Cape Town that he finds beautiful and inspiring, and he chose Klein Plaas Dam as the backdrop for our shoot. We made our way up Red Hill in his car; packed with a guitar, camera, some clothes and snacks. In case you’ve never been to Klein Plaas Dam, it’s a very quiet and peaceful reservoir surrounded by these bleached white alien-shaped rocks. The sun was out and I struggled quite a bit with the harsh light reflecting off the rocks but managed by moving into the shade for a while.

When asked what the biggest challenge has been so far, Guy replied:

“The music industry itself. South Africa doesn’t have a very big infrastructure; there are not a lot of venues, promoters or publicists. The shortage of all this has been a challenge. You have to get your name out there. And my music is quite “niche” so that has made it even more difficult.”

Releasing his second album ‘Songs from the Cane Field’  in 2005, it was his album ‘Fox Hill Lane’ that eventually won him A SAMA award last year for best instrumental album. Quite recently his Joanna Newsome cover was included on a covers album called ‘Versions of Joanna’ which was released on Drag City. Guy will be touring with Dan Patlansky later this year (June).It seems to me that guy has made “niche” work for his quite successfully.


It’s time to head home and we make our way down hill in the late afternoon sun. The light has gone from harsh to a soft warm glow. While we stop to take some last photos and Guy plays the guitar, I can’t help thinking I’ve got the best job in the world. Seriously, eh.. to be in splendid company, be outdoors and listen to beautiful music all day long while doing exactly what you love. How cool is that? All I’m thinking is why stop at “all day long”… I think I’ll continue for a while to come yet, at least until I grow up:)

If you like Guy Buttery you may want to check out Cabins in the Forest (even if they don’t exist anymore their album is still ou there), Gary Thomas or Andrew James.

You can find more on Guy Buttery right here: www.guybuttery.co.za

The Fire That Never Happened

The last week of February is turning out to be a week of photography, uhm, decisions.  Artists Wanted announced the winners of their Year in Review competition this week. The big prize goes to artist duo Jennifer Catron and Paul Outlaw. Congratulations to them! They will be announcing about another dozen prizes later this week but I’m not holding my breath. If I remember correctly, Foto Festival Naarden will also be announcing the nominees. I am so keen to learn if I’ve been nominated… Fingers crossed y’all:)

The big thing for me though this week, was being able to show my portfolio to the picture editor of ELLE Magazine. I was very excited about it and quite nervous as well. The fact that the trains weren’t running on time at all didn’t help matters much. There had been a fire alarm earlier that morning for a fire that never happened. It sounds almost romantic, “the fire that never happened”.

Somehow, I managed to make it to Amsterdam 45 minutes early but that was cool. That way I could just walk through the city, get to where I had to be, get a coffee and relax in the winter sun.  After having been seriously and embarrassingly late for my first Swimming Upstream interview with photographer  Neil John Smith last year, I am determined to arrive to the scene early so I can wait for a bit and pitch up on time. And yes, I reported to the reception desk perfectly on time:) I was met by the editor in the hall way and we made our way, coffee in hand, to a little room just next to the staff room where we just chatted about the magazine and my photography. She asked me a bunch of questions, like what do I like to photograph etc.

And naturally, we went through my portfolio. I always feel a little awkward doing that, and probably either talk too much or too little. There was positive and negative criticism but it was always constructive and interesting. The photos of Strato and Hendrik Vermeulen that were taken for Swimming Upstream were clear favorites, together with a portrait of SA writer Catriona Ross and the father/daughter duo on the couch that I took in Muizies two years ago.

Another thing that was very interesting  was going through the new issue while looking at the photography specifically. There is a whole item about Dutch fashion photographers and ai, I need to brush up on my knowledge that’s for sure!

I can easily tell you all about Robert Capa and Robert Frank or about Stieglitz, Steichen, Avedon and Weston. Or about Anton Corbijn, Niels van Iperen, Stephan van Fleteren, Charles Peterson, Roger Ballen or Liam Lynch and Deborah Rossouw for that matter.  I can go on and on about what it is that  those photographers do that I admire and how they inspire me. Yet, I can hardly tell you anything about Dutch fashion photography. Sure, we’re good with light. And yes, naturally, there’s world-renowned and iconic photographer’s duo Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin… I know about  Wendelien Daan, Viviane Sassen and Paul Bellaart but that’s about it. I’m sure I can come up with some more if I think about it, but ja,  I sure need to catch up on my knowledge of Dutch fashion photography. Fast.

The meeting ended after about 40 minutes or so and will be continued, I’ve been told:)

Oh and I like the video for new Dutch band Happy Camper. Happy Camper is more of a project than a band, I think. Musician Job Roggeveen asked 11 Dutch singers to come into the studio and sing his songs. The video they made for Born With A Bothered Mind is quite cute I thought.