Tag Archives: swimming upstream

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.

Down by the Riverside – 41/820

I, apparently, should work harder. I spent most of last week doing admin and logging all the hours I spent on my business last year and I could account for 820 hours.
Those hours include doing shoots (obviously), editing photos, writing and editing interviews, writing press releases and invitations, blogging, networking via email and social networks, business meetings, admin hours, updating and maintaining my websites and doing research on copyright laws in the NL and SA. And that’s it, I think.
 
Those hours don’t include time spent traveling (50 hours on planes alone) to and from jobs, going to gallery openings, phone calls and browsing the net or books for inspiration. I split the time when business meetings moved into social meetings. So without any creative book-keeping I got to 820 hours. The thing is that if one spends 1,255 hours on one’s own business you can get great tax breaks and refunds but, and here’s the real catch, those tax breaks only apply to the profit you made but hey I made non so it actually doesn’t even matter…
 
I worked for 41 weeks out of 52. I had visitors over for 5 weeks during which I did work a little but then again I logged 4 sick days so they level each other out, was out of it for 2 weeks due to an operation, spent 4 weeks abroad in Namibia and the Netherlands.
 
When I worked at the design office we worked 8 hour days but only had to properly book 5 hours a day on projects. Out of those 8 hours about 1.5 were spent on lunch and coffee, it was fine to book an hour a day browsing the net or looking at magazines and books for inspiration without being able to book it on a project which comes down to about 5.5 hours a day. So I pretty much worked about the same  and traded an income, social security, an apartment and “stuff” for what? For experience. And even if I feel like I have to justify what I did in the past year, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. In fact, I’m going back for seconds:-)
 
820 hours…. 41 weeks of work. I have to do more. I will do more. And it will be awesome. Can’t wait:-)
Listening to  ‘L’Oncle Soul’ by French musician Ben. He covers ‘Seven Nation Army’ by the White Stripes… sacrilege? Oh well…  I still love this song by Danish singer Agnes Obel…

woot! you, me and everyone we know…

This is the banner that is currently running on Overtone and which features as the headline on the press release as well. It was made by the fabulous designers of Taluut Design in  the Netherlands.

And *finally* sent out invitations and created a facebook events page which you can find here: http://tinyurl.com/2v8plb3
I want the whole world to come so please feel free to invite as many people as you like … seriously all mothers, fathers, boyfriends and girlfriends… the milkman and the butcher, your grandma and her dog *and* the cute boy next door… invite them!

Ou est le Swimming Pool

Busy and awesome days. My family from the NL just got down here last Saturday and I am trying to mix spending time with them and working a “full day in half a day”. So far so good except that I haven’t blogged or tweeted all that much. Otherwise, all’s pretty darn good.
 
I have a shoot this morning with a fashion designer,  an online campagne is running on Overtone, press releases are being sent out as I type this, negotiations are being held with Orms who will do the printing and framing, talks and drinks are being had with the Grand Daddy people who are doing a fab job on organizing the party side of it all, a video is being shot and edited, copyright clearances are being made for the music in the video. The project is the first thing I work on in the morning and the last thing at night. I’d say that yes, absolutely, I am becoming slightly monomaniacal about it all but it’s cool too.
 
In between all this I am showing my family around town or places like Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, Noordhoek, Bo-Kaap, Woodstock or Cape point and we’re eating food and drinking whiskey & wine like there’s no tomorrow.
Oh and I moved from Noordhoek to Capri to Fresnaye in a week. I am quite the “schlepper” by now:-)
 
In other news, yay, I see Giant Sand has a new album out. I haven’t had a chance to listen to it yet just like so many other records at the moment… The title for this blog post comes from a UK band called “Ou est le swimming pool” … I haven’t listened all that much to them yet but the title seemed apt… Yet now I really just want to listen to Harlem… Gay Human Bones! Friendly Ghost! I live in a graveyard, I want to go out but it’s too hot…. lalalalalala”. It’s been out for a while now, on Matador Records… and well, damn, you gotta love Matador home of Belle & Sebastian, Interpol, Bettie Serveert, Cat Power (Cat Power!!), Pavement, Yo la Tengo, Dum Dum Girls, Sonic Youth, Solex, Bettie Serveert… :-))))) Yeah! That yeah should be said like the mc (G.E. Smith or Kris Kristofferson, can’t remember) said it when introducing Johnny Cash at Bob Fest (Bob Dylan’s 30th anniversary celebrations with Booker T and the MG’s as the house band, how awesome is that?!) explaining that when Bob Dylan first met Johnny Cash he just walked up and around him like he was a big tree and said Yeah!
That’s the “yeah” i mean:-)
 

Bang Bang Bang, un deux trois

Fuck, I’m tired today. And no amount of coffee seems to help. Just dragged a puking cat outside as well, not helping either. What is helping are the new Sufjan Stevens album, The Age of ADZ and Mark Ronson & The Business Intl’s Record Collection:-) The first song Bang Bang Bang features Q-tip. Nice:-)

I had a fab day yesterday. I met up with illustrator Lauren Fowler at the Olympia cafe in the morning for a photo shoot and interview. I’ve loved her work for a while now but had never met her in person and chatting over coffee worked wonderfully. There’s a link to her work on the Blog Roll of this page (Lost Is A Place Too). After 30 mins or so we made our way to her house so we could choose some outfits for the shoot. I had thought about possible locations before I got to Kalk Bay but also decided to play it by ear and just see how things go. Possible locations were: Polana’s or the Harbor House because of the light and views of the ocean, a black wall of a store along the Main Road, the Kalk Bay trains station as that is quite picturesque and also offers great views of the ocean and perhaps her place if light allowed it. When we got to her house we pretty much immediately decided to do the first half of the shoot there as the light’s quite good, the atmosphere is great and there are lots of cool little things around the house.

I love shooting girls (yes, men too:-)), you can play dress up, play with make up etc and Lauren has tons of cool clothes:-)

After shooting in around her house for a while we headed outside and used that black wall at Aardvark. We were both jumping in between passing cars and got quite a few raised eyebrows. Cool;-) We shot at the train station as well but after a couple of shots we were both hungry and tired. Made our way back to Olympia for an awesome lunch (penne with tomato, olives, Parmesan) and some wine. Finished the whole day up by doing the interview as well and got home late in the afternoon.

My favorite pic so far is the one I posted above. It was shot in her garden.

I edited some pics, sent them off to her and went to Observatory in rain to meet up with Toby Twoshoes for an interview at 8 pm. The day ended with me crashing on my friend’s Lieve’s couch in Woodstock for some tea and chats. Got home at nearly midnight. Cool day.

Journalist Jess Henson wrote a cool article on The New Landscape exhibition for Creative Cape Town. You can find the article here:
http://www.creativecapetown.net/museum-gallery-%E2%80%93-a-new-view-on-the-upper-east-side/
Leave a comment if you like:-)

If you want to make it

“If you want to make it you have to learn. Go to shops, look at the marketing and advertising in magazines, look at photography and type fonts, at the lay-out, if you have a question, learn to Google it. There is so much information out there, use it. ”

(Tristan Waterkeyn)

All tomorrow’s parties

I’m doing a photo shoot with a very cool graphic designer tomorrow. He’s also a DJ and I’m quite sure you’ve heard of him. Without wanting to give too much away, his company designs for Rocking the Daisies,  Cooked in Africa Films, African Relish and Balkanology to name but a few.  Am really looking forward to the shoot as I’m a big fan of his designs. I worked at a graphic design company called Taluut in Utrecht for 7 years before I came out to South Africa and occasionally I miss working at a design company. I think it will be great to talk to him about design and see what he is up to.

My only problem is, I don’t know where to go. I have been trying to come up with all sorts of locations which, if you put them together, tell a cool story of Cape Town as an underlying uhm… thing… theme.

The other thing is that I am kinda stressing about getting enough money together for the exhibition. Perhaps it’s not such a bad thing that it’s been pushed forward a little.