and on Instagram: @hermanvanbon
and on Instagram: @hermanvanbon
From the archives. Shot in 2015 during a hike in the Eastern Cape. It was a hot midday and the animals had their siesta. Could approach them up to about 3 meters. That’s for me wild life photography: not in a game reserve but in the wild and up-and-as-close-as-possible.
This picture recently came under heavy attack (Instagram: @hermanvanbon) by a local wildlife photographer. Het mentioned that the photo was ‘crap’ (that’s his good right 😉 ) and that one can’t approach cheetahs that close without being attacked. I can imagine his thought behind that idea if you have your whole life being engaged in wildlife photography from the comfort of a game drive vehicle and in the presence of a ranger with a complete weapon arsenal (to exaggerate a bit). Next point he made is that there are no cheetahs in the wild in the Eastern Cape. Well that is certainly not true. On the contrary. Officially there should not be cheetahs in the wild in the Eastern Cape. But on numerous occasions they escape from the different game reserves and are not always recaptured. Unofficially the number is the wild is estimated up to a few hundred; mainly North of the line between PE and Plettenburg Bay. Source: Cheetah Metapopulation South Africa. Another thing one should know about cheetahs and other panthera species is that they are mainly active from sunset to sunrise and relatively inactive during the day and especially in temperatures above 30-35 degrees Celcius. After I made the picture I spoke with different nature conservationists and people of a panthera sanctuary about what happened that day and without exception they confirmed that in the circumstances I described it’s very well possible to approach even lions (except when there are cubs) up to a short distance provided you don’t sit down and keep yourself higher than they are. That’s a bit of animal psychology 😉
From an interview with Jeré Möller of ‘Visit Overberg‘
Herman van Bon – An artist unleashed
Sitting down to chat with fine art photographer Herman van Bon is a bit like jumping on a magic carpet. A few seconds in and you are time traveling to visit the ancestors. Minutes later you are standing with him at the very edge of space, pondering heaven, hell and the wild beauty of it all. Herman is a well of stories, a maze of great questions and a master of his craft.
You have been described as quirky, complex, playful and very creative. So here is my first question. In your own words, who is Herman van Bon?
Well, I think I am an adult who kept my childhood imagination alive. I have a very wide field of interests and I do love to have fun with photography. I was born between the dykes of Holland and worked as a photojournalist on the technical side of things for many years. It took me through the whole wide world. About 17 years ago my wife Yvonne and I moved to South Africa to find space and breathe fresh air. We settled in the Overberg and love living here.
Someone said you are the Hieronymous Bosch of the digital era. How would you describe your work and style?
I like to photograph landscapes especially during early mornings, in the golden hour. But taking a picture is just the beginning as I enjoy playing with it. I explore and just let it flow to see where it might go. It can take weeks to come together and the end result can be landscapes, haikus, photographic mixed media and imaginary photography next to abstract and portrait photography.
Something that is regularly reflected in my work is my interest in the universal archetypes imbedded in our ancient human heritage. I find it interesting how they are awakened through the associations we sometimes make when looking at images. I also find the interaction between light and dark, good and evil fascinating. Especially subject matter that touches beyond religion and the best way I can explain this is through a quote from Albert Einstein,
“The most beautiful emotion we can experience is the mysterious. It is the power of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms – this knowledge, this feeling, is at the centre of true religiousness. In this sense, and in this sense only, I belong to the rank of devoutly religious men.”
Herman so if we get down to it, what really inspire you?
Simply put, beauty. You know beauty can be in the small details of an even ugly looking subject. And the fact that some rules are there to be broken.
You mentioned settling in the Overberg about 17 years ago. Do you have any favourite places that you enjoy shooting at?
Yes definitely, the rolling hills and changing skies of the Overberg is a joy to any landscape photographer. I have many spots that I enjoy shooting, but let me highlight three for you:
– Napier and the town’s surroundings are stunning during Springtime and Autumn, just after the harvest. The Schietpad is especially amazing, you can get lost in there!
– Near Barrydale, the Warmwaterberg is beautiful. Stunning mountain views. Definitely a favourite.
– Elgin Valley is a magical place. I recommend taking a good hike up and the best time is during August.
Last question Herman. Where do you and Yvonne go to unwind here in your home town Napier?
Have to say we are still relatively new in Napier. It’s been just about a year and I can tell you, this is a town with a lot to discover. It’s difficult to mention just one place. We enjoy visiting Napier Farmstall, The Fox Pub for lunch, Pascal’s for dinner and for the best pizza in the Overberg, The Suntouched Inn.
Visit, view and buy some of his work here: Private Gallery Napier
Below: ‘He’s back’. Since last Monday 258 likes on Instagram @hermanvanbon