Some stunning images emerged during April. I unpacked several boxes of unseen slides, and also returned to collections I had liked and put aside years ago. The mix of favorites in this post reflects both the beauty of the images and a level of curiosity about South Africa shown on Instagram.
The order below reflects best loved first (at the time of posting).
This is the winning image for the month. It is a village street in England and shows some beautiful, traditional architecture. Many South Africans have English ancestors explaining the popularity of trips to the UK where the traditional village evokes thoughts of our fore-bearers. For those who eschew the new, pictures of old houses are especially appealing. As someone who lives in quite an old house myself I understand the charm, even if I know the upkeep is a headache!
An absolutely sublime image , from a trip to England. The pink color popped out beautifully with editing. I recently visited the Lake District as my ancestors farmed on Lake Esthwaite for two generations and I imagine they saw sunsets like this. Even as they worked hard to make a living farming sheep and cotton, I’m sure they took in the surrounding beauty on evenings like this.
Beautiful blooming Pincushion Proteas in the Fynbos plant biome of the Cape. This looks like it’s taken in the winelands area of Stellenbosch or Franschoek with the Hottontotsholland Mountains in the background.
A ‘gobsmackingly’ good find, I’m sure I whooped when this appeared on my light table. It shows a group of young Ciskei men in traditional ritual dress. The skins, accessories, and face paint may be for a coming-of-age or marriage ceremony. They are photographed outdoors on the rolling hills of the Eastern Cape.
Boy sitting on the end of a wooden pier overlooking the warm, shallow waters of a typical coastal lagoon. He may only have sat so for an instant but for Instagram adults it evokes memories of childhood and appeals to a peaceful, contemplative side of life, away from the demands of work and everyday life.
More nostalgic memories of childhood beach and rock pool explorations. It’s also a gorgeous image of bright, glistening sea life against fine dark sand. This kind of sand is found on the South African South and East coasts. I wrote about how this life has disappeared from many rock pools, except perhaps in coastal reserves.
Someone paused on the zebra crossing to take this street shot of central Johannesburg, 1960s or 1970s. I love the gleaming old cars and morning light showing people on their way to work. We also know it’s early morning because of the milk delivery van doing it’s rounds on the left. This service was a feature of SA cities and suburbs until the late 1970s.
I can just imagine a joke starting with “Two zebras and a wildebeest walked into a bar …” when I look at this great image. The original was very faded and a black and white solution was the best way to bring it back to life.
I received an unusual and interesting collection of old slides from a paper mill industrialist. I love industrial vernacular photography of the mid-century period. It reveals a hidden and forgotten world, with the coolest machines and old technologies. This one appealed because of the red color as well.
Someone thought this was a good idea! If it were a twenty-year-old man I’d say it was a stag night, but this boy looks to be 8 or 9 years old. He’s surely out of nappies at that age, but too young for smoking so what’s going on? It must be a game on a family holiday or celebration. Interesting furniture details in the background, if you can tear your eyes away from that scrunched up face. All judgement aside, it’s a great shot and wonderful example of vernacular photography.
Sea Point Swimming Pool, in Cape Town. All Capetonians know – and have probably swum in – this iconic pool on the Atlantic coast. It is filled with chlorinated sea water and looks much the same today. Large, public swimming baths represent the mid-century period where families and teens used to gather and enjoy the sun. Many have fallen away, being too expensive to maintain, especially in a land suffering from drought, but the Seapoint Pool is a survivor. Tens of thousands of Capetonians would turn up to protest if it were ever to be shut down.
And last but not least, this awesome shot of a passenger boat in Cape Town harbor with Table Mountain in the background. In the 1970s it was tradition for families to visit the harbor on weekends to see the boats in the docks, and to witness the arrival and leaving of these romantic ships.