The stand-in BEE farmer in South Africa

The last few weeks  a large part of the Western Cape in South Africa experienced disruptions caused by striking farmworkers. In fact the farmworkers themselves did not disrupt but the ‘hired’ professional strikers of the trade union according to (internal) police reports. But the general grievances of poor pay (10 US-Dollar per day) and poor housing conditions for many of the workers are real although there are also farmers who do better (pay better, proper sanitation etc.). It’s easy to solely blame farmers for the situation. It’s all far more complicated and dirty politics played by ruling party and opposition parties (The ruling party ANC is setting the rules and the minimum wages….., etc.).

Since 1994 South Africa has merely failed to put changes on the right track despite the enormous potential present (we still believe in it…). Empowering farmworkers in this province (Western Cape) does not really come from the ground and independent empowered black  farmers in this province …… still have to find one ..

All this inspired me to compose these two pictures representing Black Economical Empowerment (BEE) farmers. Apologies for the fact I had to use an Alessi bottle-cap as stand-in.

Me going under cover

I love masquerades …… i.e. on my computer I mean.

And I love flowers; our garden exhibits a year round floral display of succulent plants from around the globe. And ….. I love our village (Stanford, South Africa; I can’t emphasize that enough… I even maintain a blog about our experiences here). I also love birds …. In fact I am jealous with them for birds have an extra dimension in moving around.

The mainframe picture of the sunset is made at Stanford Valley and the rest are all elements sourced from our library (see previous posting). Sooner or later I want to create a landscape solely consisting of flower elements.

Some elements

For decoration of pictures I started  a library with ‘elements’ and one with ‘mainframes’. Some of these elements and mainframes are in this composition and regular readers of this blog might recognize quite a few of them. Others still have to find a way into an imaginary. Virtually all are from our village (Stanford, South Africa) and a few are sourced from our road trips. Two or three of the elements are shot with a Sony Snapshooter (Cybershot 7.2) but for the rest all with the camera-equipment as listed in the page ‘My Gear’.

Manipulated rural landscapes

I needed 5 different pictures for this composition. The first one is the sky (mainframe) added with the photo’s of respectively the lorry going off-hill; 2 of the cows (one mirrored) plus the sheep. The pictures have one thing on common; they were all made within a radius of 2 kilometers in Papiesvlei nearby our village Stanford, South Africa.

The title I gave the second composition is “Invasion of the Hottentots Gods” and is compiled of photo’s of the Stanford sky; the ‘Grand Canyon of South Africa’ near the hamlet Plathuis somewhere North of Route62 between Barrydale and Ladysmith; the Klein Rivier Mountains (mirrored); herons (left top) from the Storch Hotel in Zurich; a sculpture (twice) from the garden of Fraai Uitzicht plus enlargements of the Hottentots God; a fascinating South African insect worshipped by natives.

The Honeymoon

Yesterday I published some pictures of flowers, shot the day before. Of 3 of these flowers I used elements in this portrait of the honeymoon of Xolile and Matrone. No; I’m not doing wedding photography but this was a special occasion as you can read in the link.

Flower Power and shooting birds

Virtually daily I picture flowers in our garden and every now and than I also shoot a bird. Here in Stanford, South Africa people are privileged to have a year-round floral display but not many are seemingly aware of this heavenly gift. Many people never look into a flower. With software (in our case Adobe Photoshop CS6) I am able to inverse the different parts of a flower an use these as elements in my imaginaries. Here a few of  yesterday’s shots; in the future you might recognize details. Click thumbnails for enlargement.

From a different angle

By moving the camera around the visual effects can change significantly. But ever tried to see a picture from a different angle? Last week I took some pictures at the lagoon and choose two for this composition. Of the mainframe (see picture left) I took the sky away and the copy of it I rotated 180 degrees plus a few degrees extra for a seamless joint. Added the heron (also mirror wise) and there was the picture. But than I turned the end-result a quarter …… well, see for yourself. Personally I think it looks a bit weird but I’m, for whatever reason, also fascinated…. It’s where photo-manipulation slowly becomes art(?).