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Happy new year, everybody! It’s been quite some time since my last blog post which is pretty much due to me not having anything to say. If, professionally speaking, 2011 felt like wading through mud with a heavy backpack on, 2012 looks to be very different. There are some definite changes on the horizon, better still, changes are here. And I am stoked.
The year started off good with a couple of guest blog post at Lost At E Minor, which is one of Saatchi & Saatchi’s ‘Lovemark’ brands so that’s quite cool. I’ve also been interviewed by South Africa’s Creative Network which you can read here. Things are only getting more exciting from there on. At least for me:) I booked a flight to South Africa and am flying to Cape Town on February 6th. I plan on staying there for about 4 to 6 months depending on how things go.
I posted a little wish-list on Facebook the other day and lo and behold, one of them came true the very next day:) For you see, I have been a huge World Press Photo fan and have wanting to do a masterclass of sorts for a long time. And hooray, I just signed up for a 3-day masterclass by World Press Photo Winner Jodi Bieber. Oh yes. I signed up for two other lectures as well – one by Mike Hutchings whom I actually know already and the other by Sean O’Toole. Mike won 1st prize in the Sports category and Sean is the editor of Art South Africa, amongst other things.
The prospect of learning is just so exciting to me, I can feel my brain itch as it were:)
I totally should have called this post “How Kate Got Her Groove Back”, ’cause Stella ain’t got nothing on me:)
And rather randomly – I watched Cameron Crowe’s PJ 20 – I can’t help it, I haven’t listened to them in years but I do still love that song. I had just forgotten that I did:)
In case you were wondering about what else is on the wish-list, here it is:
“live in Cape Town, live in Seattle, visit Zim, China, Vietnam and the arctic, study film, find a mentor, work for Rolling Stone, make a documentary, fall in love, speak 10 languages, see the world, meet everyone..”
Sounds like a plan to me:)
“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”
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” 🙂
I’m feeling rather jealous:) I’m jealous of Dutch photographer Kadir van Lohuizen who’ll be trawling along the Pan-American Highway while doing a photography project, for the next 40 weeks. 40 weeks! Nice:) I’m jealous of the friend who’s sailing the oceans. Jealous of the one who just grabs his things and goes. On the other hand, I am also jealous of the friends who are simply happy at home.
The idea was to start in Alaska somewhere and make my way down to Terra del Fuego. The idea was to take pictures along the way while stopping in the smallest of places as well as the exciting big cities. The idea was to go by car. The idea was to go with a boy. A beautiful, exciting boy who would make me laugh. And to just travel travel travel. To disappear a little, only to emerge with an amazing amount of visuals and stories.
Kadir van Lohuizen is an amazing photographer and one of my favorite contemporary photographers. A sailor before he became a photographer, Kadir has covered wars across Africa and South Africa’s transition from apartheid to democracy from 1990-1994, published a very cool book about the diamond industry way before Blood Diamond came out and established the Noor agency with several other photographers in 2007.
‘Diamond Matters’ won the Kees Scherer Prize for best photo book in 2006. The book basically follows a diamond’s life. Starting in the mines of Angola, Sierra Leone and the Democratic Republic of Congo, it shows hard work and poverty. From then on it moves to Antwerp to the rough diamond exchange market and to Surat in India through which 70-80% of the world’s diamond production passes through to be polished. A 13-year-old boy works 12 hours a day in one of those polishing centres. He gets to see his parents once a year. The book ends with a jewellery store on 5th Avenue in New York as well as a jet-setting party in London.It’s an amazing book, not just because of the photography but the designers also did a fabulous job. One cover is made out of faux velvet, the other is a rough cardboard-like paper. The paper also changes as the story develops; starting with a rough grey-ish paper it ends on a highly glossy one. Quite cool and poignant.
Projects like this make my heart beat faster. They make my eyes bigger and my feet itch. They make me feel jealous in a good way. Ever since I was a little girl and saw photos of wars, artists, musicians, exotic places and vast open plains, I wanted to be there too.
I can understand people who are slightly monomaniacal about certain things. Who basically really just want one thing: to read all the books in the world, or to see all the art that was created, to climb all mountains or to sail all oceans just because they are there, just because you can. And just because it would make you sad if you didn’t.
In an interview with NRC Handelsblad this Saturday Kadir chatted about his project on migration in the Americas (for more information: www.viapanam.org) as well as being a modern-day photographer. He explained that he’ll be adding videos as well as blog posts to his website. The reason for doing so is that he feels that in about 5 years time photographers won’t be able to make a living from photography alone. I think he’s right. Somehow you need to be a better photographer than you already are, and you also have to diversify and be able to make videos and preferably be a good writer (blogger) at the same time.
It’s quite something you have to do. A little frightening even but also very exciting. It’s exciting as all those elements, video making, interviews, writing and exhibitions are part of my project.
So while I sit here watching the rain and type this, I am re-editing the sponsorship application in my head. The idea is still the same. The idea is still to see to travel, to take photographs, to laugh and see new things while driving through those vast open plains or highly populated cities. The only difference is that now I have a cool and realistic plan to make it happen. And it has to happen. Not just because it’s cool or it seems like fun. No just because I would be sad if I didn’t, but because it would make me feel alive when I do:)
It’s one of those in between days – Not feeling 100%, not sick either. I have sent out emails requesting a shoot but am waiting to hear back. The designers are busy are making online banners and an email invitation, and the press release is under review on a friend’s computer.
I watched ‘The Thomas Crown Affair’ last night, the original of course. I can’t be bothered to watch the 1999 remake. I think the story is quite thin but man, Faye Dunaway is stunning and love love some of the outfits she wears. The dress she’s wearing when they’re playing chess, wow. The chess scene is hot in any case; the close-ups of faces, lips, arms, hands caressing chess pieces, you can feel the sexual tension rising. I love the late 60’s feel of the movie. The clothes, the cars, the use of split screens, it’s old-fashioned but in a good way. The pace of the movie is good too. I’ve never been a big fan of Steve McQueen but after having seen Papillon, the Great Escape and now the Thomas Crown affair and must admit the man is handsome to say the least;-)
Thing is that I’ve been watching quite a few escape movies lately and ‘Papillon’ was cool but apparently the book is better (Shannon:-)) and the whole isolation cell scenes are terrible but not nearly as claustrophobic and upsetting as Javier Bardem’s scenes in ‘Before Night Falls’ or even Paul Newman in ‘Cool Hand Luke’. ‘Before Night Falls’ wins hands down in the claustrophobic department. Speaking of that movie, Johnny Depp as Bon Bon is fabulous, never realized how hot Olivier Martinez is until this movie and Sean Penn as Cuco Sanchez is cool too.
Cool Hand Luke spawned the classic line “What we got here, is (a) failure to communicate” which, according to Wikipedia, made it to #11 in on the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 most memorable movie lines. I should check out that list.
My personal favorite must be on there, I’m sure: “you do know how to whistle, don’t you Steve? You just put your lips together and blow” by Lauren Bacall in ‘To have and have not’. It’s not just the line that I love. It’s the tension between them, the black and white, the lighting’s stunning. Yes, I got a thing for Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart:-)
Time to go outside. Hope you’ll have a great weekend:-) I’m watching Butch Cassidy & the Sundance kid tonight. I’ll post about the project some other day.
So, … cool things are happening.
I was approached by someone on Monday to take part in a group exhibition at a new gallery in town. Totally jumped at the chance.
I’m not entirely sure of how public or secret the whole thing is but better play it safe and not say too much. Anyway, I can submit 4 photos of my choosing as long as they are in landscape format and fit the theme. The guy picked 4 photos but 2 of them are out for different reasons: one was shot with a point & shoot and would never hold up on A2 and the other was shot on film and I don’t have the file with me here in SA except for the low res image that is online already.
I am suspecting a problem with one of the other photos he picked as it is part of the World Portraits Collection, an online stock agency that used to be part of the Dutch ANP press but became an independent in 2008 or 2009. They never sold the photo anywhere and frankly, I want it back. Or at least I want the freedom to do what I like with it.
So I came up with 3 sets of 4 images and can’t quite figure out which to choose. Pros and cons everywhere and it all depends on what you want and all that jazz. Decided to let it sink in a little, ask my good friend thegreenhairmermaid for advice and write everyone involved in the mean time trying to get their ok with me using it for the exhibition.
The greenhairmermaid called (sounds cool eh? getting a call from a mermaid:-)) and after having discussed the options with her I sent through one set and two possible images. I just hope he likes the first set.
Dates to remember: 09-30, 11-11 and 12-03… 3 months, 3 exhibitions
If I only I could get my stuff published in magazines… I’d be a happy camper then
I also just found out that I got my visa extension. Have had the Black Keys'”next girl” firmly stuck in my head for days now, still love the new (-ish) album. Blonde Redhead now though… Oh and btw, I think that Weezer cover for Hurley is just brilliant!
Seriously, just check out http://3voor12.vpro.nl/luisterpaal/
If you’re thinking what do these images have to do with the Swimming Upstream project you are right, they don’t have anything to with it. But neither does this entire post. Thought I’d be consistent:-) And it looks nice.
And … going to the Pecha Kucha meeting last week totally paid off:-)
Told you, good things are happening…