Rits and the 'Tibetan Pitbull'

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November 1997 is a memorable month and my back still aches by the thought of it. We went for a short break-away to Shri Lanka and on the way back to the airport in Colombo Yvonne saw a life-size wooden dog in a shop window and once she set her mind on something it becomes a mission and this time I was the one who had to carry it all. The shop did not have credit card facilities and the banks nearby were out of money so I had to go downtown (luckily with the husband of the shop owner as a guide) through a busy maze of (side-)roads to find a bank with money in stock. Ever participated actively in the traffic in Colombo? Well I can assure you that this is very stressful especially when you are pressed to be on time at the airport as well… But the worst had yet to come; I also had to carry the dog all the way from the car rentals on the airport in Colombo and from the customs on Amsterdam airport to the car parking and guess who parked the car there and forgot all about where….???… But that is history except for my back.

I never carried that dog; not even with our removals to and within South Africa. Until this morning for a photo session.

All the pictures were taken within 10 meters from the corner in the living room where our ‘Tibetan Pitbull’, as I disrespectful named this sculpture since my miserable experience, resides. The featured B&W is photoshopped.

And of course I had to make a portrait together with Rits; our lively lab who feels a bit alone since his sister Roets went to the ‘eternal sniffle fields’ a few weeks ago. It went all very well as Yvonne co-operated in the carrying this time …..

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Rits and the ‘Tibetan Pitbull’

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November 1997 is a memorable month and my back still aches by the thought of it. We went for a short break-away to Shri Lanka and on the way back to the airport in Colombo Yvonne saw a life-size wooden dog in a shop window and once she set her mind on something it becomes a mission and this time I was the one who had to carry it all. The shop did not have credit card facilities and the banks nearby were out of money so I had to go downtown (luckily with the husband of the shop owner as a guide) through a busy maze of (side-)roads to find a bank with money in stock. Ever participated actively in the traffic in Colombo? Well I can assure you that this is very stressful especially when you are pressed to be on time at the airport as well… But the worst had yet to come; I also had to carry the dog all the way from the car rentals on the airport in Colombo and from the customs on Amsterdam airport to the car parking and guess who parked the car there and forgot all about where….???… But that is history except for my back.

I never carried that dog; not even with our removals to and within South Africa. Until this morning for a photo session.

All the pictures were taken within 10 meters from the corner in the living room where our ‘Tibetan Pitbull’, as I disrespectful named this sculpture since my miserable experience, resides. The featured B&W is photoshopped.

And of course I had to make a portrait together with Rits; our lively lab who feels a bit alone since his sister Roets went to the ‘eternal sniffle fields’ a few weeks ago. It went all very well as Yvonne co-operated in the carrying this time …..

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The hidden waterfall

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The hike (approx. 5 km) took a few hours and we had to climb and descent rocks, walk through a fern forest and follow a stream but the reward was amazing and refreshing: the hidden waterfall of Stanford, South Africa and only the very, very privileged know about it. Not that we are that ‘very, very privileged’ but our friends are and they have, after 16 years Stanford, obtained the key for the gate. A  paradise for whoever want to take photographs of waterfalls and streaming water; frogs and other creatures, fynbos and other precious plants. Well we guess that the Garden of Eden must have looked alike. Our time was limited this Sunday morning for there were also lunch arrangements but we definitely will return for a day or longer to picture it all.

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Off the beaten track

No photoshopping with this picture although I’ve used elements of it in several ‘imaginaries’. This is South Africa off-the-beaten-track or to be more specific; the Papiesvlei Road near Stanford in the Overberg region in the Western Cape. If you follow this road you’ll see somewhere in nowhere a traffic light (“Robot” in South African English). If it’s red keep on driving and if it’s green the restaurant is open and Henny (the local BBQ-specialist) will make you a delicious Farmers Dish with a real good Steak in the way you like it! And for a price that’s almost pre-historic…. Most tourists behave like sheep and packed in comfortable ‘cattle-buses’ only see (not ‘experience’) the known tourist traps. The few more adventurous travelers see and feel the true inner beauty of whatever country of region they explore. Going ‘nowhere slowly’  is most of the time cheaper  as well…

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Whale Watching

Hermanus in the Western Cape, South Africa attracts many tourists for whale watching. Even in season (June-December) it can happen that there are days that you hardly see any and other days it’s a joyful sight seeing them play as far as the eye reaches. Yesterday, virtually the end of season, they were very quiet but just before I went back to Stanford I could make a few shots and added together with photoshop it looks like real. And I realize now that many (commercial touristic) shots of whales nearby a beach are manipulated ….. Best is to go with one of those whale watching boats and a telelens mounted on your camera to obtain a nice close-up.

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Split personality

Sometimes I hear people tell me that “… you say what you think” and with that telling me not to believe one word of their stories. Thinking, saying and doing are three different entities in our existence and getting to know each other and building up true lasting friendships has everything to do with the ability of not only opening your mind and your heart but also showing that ‘thinking’, ‘saying’ and ‘doing’ are one despite our dark secrets. Come to think of it; we’re all ‘split personalities’ and I am not an exception. We all have an ‘alter ego’ and this realization goes back to the early days of humanity and religion. There has always been ‘good’ and ‘evil’; a ‘God’ and a ‘devil’. In South African cultures there is the ‘Tokkelossie‘ or tokoloshe/tikoloshe (‘uthikoloshe‘) which represent the ‘evil’ and since everybody thinks that he/she is a good person the influence of a ‘Tokkelossie’ has to be avoided at any cost; going that far that some people believe that once put your bed on stones the ‘Tokkelossie’ does nog have a chance to pollute your ‘good being’ during your sleep.

Who am I; a ‘good’ or an ‘evil’ person? I think we all have both and some of us have more ‘good’ and the other more ‘evil’ although not many ‘evil’ people will admit that they are. And than we also have to define ‘good’ and ‘evil’. Is, for example, a mother who steals bread to be able to feed her children an ‘evil’ person? Pretty sure that there is a large grey area in which ‘good’ and ‘evil’ overlap each other. Who am I to judge?

In the recent past I published some photoshopped self-portraits. Here I publish three of them. The first picturing who I think I am; the second how others might see me and the third how I see my true self in (which?) mirror.

Today I shot a Springbok

No… not one of those South African rugby players but a real Springbok; just 500 meters from our house here in Stanford, South Africa. It’s more of a snapshot. In my left hand I had the leech to keep our dog in control and in the other hand the camera.

Images in one impression

Remember me going to the Graduation Ceremony of the pre-primary school in a nearby location (township) in South Africa? Well here is what I distilled from the few hundred pictures I made. It’s about children and the joy people have despite severe poverty. And also about a community leader as one of the many who made it all possible. There is not much written history about the different tribes in South Africa and certainly not much from books is known to people in communities like this. But they inherited a story-telling culture and history flows in one or another way from generation to generation. Not the history of facts but a history of ancestry and spirituality. Due to influences of modern times the cultural heritage is threatened with ‘uprooting’ leaving people without knowledge about their cultural background and without hope, without future….