Who is cheeky: the gardener of the photographer?
“Photography is, by it’s nature, a manipulation. It always has been. When we accept this we can move on to more interesting discussions and bigger stories; we can begin to think more critically about the stories we accept. When we stop asking “if it really looked like that” our craft will finally be able to move unhindered into art and we’ll be able to more freely perform our roles as artists and storytellers, constrained not by the rules and expectations of others but, for better or worse, by our humanity.” – David du Chemin (world- and humanitarian photographer)
…. or is it extraordinary?
I prefer to portrait people as they are; not as they want to be seen. That makes me a very difficult photographer for wedding and event shoots. But there are also many exceptions and these extra-ordinary people insist to see themselves through my eyes. With portrait photography I like to shoot at an unexpected moment. With the processing I add, erase, tone and texture etc. etc. until I’m content with the result. Take for example the portrait of Zama (move with cursor over the images to see the captions). Zama puts IsiXhosa magic in her profession which makes her one of the best baristas in the Western Cape, South Africa. I pictured her, this afternoon, during a break in the kitchen of the eat cafe where she works. Zama is a very sweet and proud personality, hard working to get her child the best education possible. She has humor and is a great communicator once you get to know her but also very discreet and distinguished.
And so every portrait should tell you its own story about the person or at least provide you with an idea about the personality (as I experienced).
The best compliment for my portrait photography I got from an international operating photographer in Washington DC. This colleague identified Beatrice as coming from Northern Germany, possible from Berlin, business-wise plus also radiating an alternative lifestyle. Beatrice lived in several places in Northern Germany but was born in Berlin and regarding the rest my colleague also hit the nail on its head. If that is not extra-ordinary?
“Photography deals exquisitely with appearances, but nothing is what it appears to be”. – Duane Michals (with thanks to Belgian photographer Luc Dewaele from whose blog I copied this quote).
I met Mahomed Saleem Khan for the first time during a hike. Mahomed is a vivid (amateur) photographer from Parow (a suburb of Cape Town). Every now and than we come together to exchange ideas and go on a photoshoot of some kind. Last weekend he showed me his new lens; a Tamron 70-200 that goes on his Canon EOS 7D. And I pictured him with my Sony A77 and a modest Sigma 70-300MM. The portrait was made at Stanford Harvest. Mahomed is very happy with this lens. He tested it extensively and compared the results with the more expensive lenses with the same specifications.