Mariam (Age 2) looking for her mother whilst her sister Yasmina, is preoccupied on a tablet computer.

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Life update (oh no) + discussions with a photojournalist

Since changing to digital, I’ve been concentrating on shooting at night a lot lately. Low light photography wasn’t available for myself until now so it’s something new and fun. It’s a phase though, like bokeh everywhere, HDR or anything done in a laundromat. None the less, best to do the cliches’ so we can move on. Anyway…

I’ve been in contact with a local photojournalist. Fairly well known guy that has done some work for Al-Jazeera and has worked in Syria. Someone whos full time job is making photographs about daily life in the interest of news. I’ve learnt quite a bit about the industry talking to him, and the basic consensus is…if you want in, you need to get an apprenticeship (unless you’re an exceptional snowflake). There are things that can be learnt a lot quicker if someone teaches it to you. And In the world of making a living off of photo stories, their is absolutely no room for anyone that is average.

Unfortunately, I am an incredibly average photographer & perhaps you can relate. But the gap between myself and the people working for AFP, Reuters or the NYTimes is gigantic. It’s actually really frustrating being mediocre and not knowing why (hence apprentinceship). The thing is, from what I’ve learnt so far, to excel in this career one must go way beyond the required technical photographic prowess. 

Empathy, education, word wizardry and your personality all comes into play. Depending on your interest (mine being people) you actually need to be a anthropologist/sociologist/historian/journalist + someone who is somewhat knowledgeable of geo-politics for good measure. You also need to be able to connect with strangers and displace your fear of being in a somewhat uncomfortable or difficult situation.  And I think this is where the gap lies (yip, big gap). The hard stuff. This is also the reason why they always advise you to start telling stories about your own society and culture first. You already have the background.

Their really is no direct path in this industry. From Soweto or Stallenbosch, no one cares where you’re from or where you have studied. If the works good, people will look. Its just that creating great work is tough and a long process involving a lot of rejection.

Anyway, thanks for reading. I wrote this because maybe someone else can relate…and I’m procrastinating. Procrastinating because I’m waiting for an editor to get back to me. Which is a sure sign that my story is about to be rejected. Which is fine. But what is tough is explaining this to the person I’m writing the story about. Letting him know that people are just not interested. This always feels like you’re letting someone down. Every single time. 

For further reading, watch this TED Talk by Angela Lee on Grit, this famous video by Ira Glass called “The Gap” and this one about the role failure plays

I’m also looking for an apprenticeship or internship. Will travel and can cook!

PS: It took me 3 hours to write this? Words!

posted 1 week ago with 7 notes

"The last 10 years have seen Cape Town’s iconic Long Street, located in the City Bowl just below Bo-Kaap, become the de facto location for barhopping, boerewors eating, and revelry for foreigners and locals alike."

I am busy with an ongoing project about Long Street at night. See it here on the DailyVox

posted 3 weeks ago with 6 notes

Love on Long Street.

I am busy with an ongoing project about Long Street at night. See it here on the DailyVox

posted 3 weeks ago with 9 notes

Dulla, sleeping with his baby. 

posted 1 month ago with 5 notes

Maryka collecting wood for the fire. We went to !Kwha Ttu along the West Coast in Cape Town. Nice place if you’re down to do nothing.

posted 1 month ago with 2 notes

Ramadan in Bo Kaap: A dying tradition?

A man drying himself after performing his ablutions in preparation for prayers. During Ramadan, you’re not allowed to eat or drink anything between sunrise and sunset.”

See the full Photo Essay on the DailyVox

posted 1 month ago with 3 notes

Ramadan in Bo Kaap: A dying tradition?

"During Ramadan, children visit their neighbours and exchange cake before iftar. This tradition is slowly disappearing as some people feel that baking for so many people can be a waste and costs a lot of money."

See the full Photo Essay on the DailyVox

posted 1 month ago with 1 note

Ramadan in Bo Kaap: A dying tradition?

"Bo-Kaap has a magnificent view of Table Mountain. This is one of the reasons for the area’s increase in popularity and gentrification."

See the full Photo Essay on the DailyVox

posted 1 month ago with 20 notes

During the annual moon sighting for Eid at the Sea Point promenade in Cape Town, Yusuf Pandey leads the procession for Maghrib prayers.

posted 1 month ago with 10 notes

During the annual moon sighting for Eid, people stand in solidarity with Palestine at the Sea Point promenade in Cape Town

posted 1 month ago with 802 notes