Herman van Bon Photography

Fine Art Photography, Napier, South Africa.

Sometimes (sometimes more often) I’m confronted with myself and not just by looking in the mirror. I’ve got my (nasty ?) habits and not everybody likes them. It’s healthy to be confronted with yourself; even if it does not always suit you at the time and place. Self-reflection is like body-building but that for the spirit…. When I was picturing Nguni cattle the other day I was just wondering how the difficult (very stubborn) ‘model’ Ina 099 would respond to a confrontation with herself … See also previous post.

Let’s see.

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Nguni cattle

Herman van Bon Photography

There is not much literature about the African Nguni cattle. But there is this book “The Abundant Herds – a celebration to the Nguni cattle of the Zulu people” that’s worthwhile to read and is well illustrated. Written and illustrated by Marguerite Poland, David Hammond and Leigh Voigt and partly based on the study of Bert Schroeder (RIP). ISBN 978-1-874950-70-7; published by Fernwood Press/Random House Struik. Why I’m mentioning all this? Well… I grew up in an agricultural environment dominated by Holsteiners (and its varieties), Simmenthalers, Angus etc. in Europe. These are the most common breeds of cattle around the globe. Africa has its own cattle and we all have to credit the Zulu people for magnificent name giving (based on the hide patterns) but first of all for their efforts to keep the Nguni pure. Nguni cattle play an important role in the Zulu, Xhosa and Sotho cultures in Southern Africa. In a typical Zulu village the kraal is always the center point. It provided the villagers not only with milk and meat; it also served as bridal dowry (“lobola”). The more lighter the hide the higher the status of the owner. Shaka Zulu bred white Nguni cattle and his elite guards were recognized by their white hides. There is so much to tell about this disease resistant type of cattle. You see them grazing in Northern parts of South Africa but the last years farmers in other parts of this country discover the (commercial) advantages of this breed. In our small village for example are already 4 herds of which we know and a fifth one on its way. As I’m asked to picture Nguni cattle for a hide trader I snapshooted, by means of photographic study, quickly some Ngunis on my way to another photographic subject early this.

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THE Hairdresser in our village is Belinda and she is not only a pleasant personality. Belinda is determined to make something special of your hair and she really likes it. No village gossip but just fun and in the meantime focussed. Stanford can be proud of its ‘Hair by Belinda’ and Belinda takes pride in her ‘pieces of hair art’! Not much art in my hair but since Belinda is taking care for it every two months I’m more aware of my ‘upholstering’. Anyway sometime ago we made a deal that I would photograph her while busy with my topping.

So I sat there with my camera in hand in front of the mirror; the lens adjusted to wide angle (16mm)l just to make sure not to miss anything.

All reflections are cropped and processed to B&W. Still have to work on details though.

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