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Category Archives: Africa

Namibian Fantasy

This image – of a man posing with a Welwitschia plant – is one I’ve had for a long time. It is no doubt taken in Namibia, an extremely arid place, to which the plant is native. The man has always intrigued me with his triumphant pose and his vaguely unsavory looks. I’d wanted to write about the image, to restore it, but I seemed to be in a creative desert. Then I thought of the iPad game Plants vs. Zombies and it struck me that the man has an uncanny likeness to the zombies, with his open mouth, broken tooth, greasy wisps of hair and dull clothing. With a bit of a stretch, the Welwitschia plant is like one of the plants the zombies try to eat in the game. I put this little (un-restored) scene together just for fun.

PlantsvsZombies

In Afrikaans, the common name for the Welwitschia plant is tweeblaarkanniedood (translates awkwardly as ‘two leaves cannot die’). The game needs one of those! That’s Plants=1, Zombies=0.

 

 

Posted by on January 7, 2016 in Africa, Desert, Man, Nature

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Johannesburg Festival

These two pics are labelled ‘JHB Festival’ and date to the late 1950s. They are tantalizing in their hints at a large, public event and location. However, I cannot be sure what festival this is. The Rand Easter Show is one possibility, so too is the annual Wits University RAG procession for the second image. The compressed perspective and amateur photographic skills result in quite an abstracted look. They’d make great paintings! Can you see the woman in the semi-transparent blue dress? She’s cool.

695 - JHB - Festival Town

696---Joburg-Festival

Here are the before-and-afters. I enjoyed reclaiming color, particular the first one with it’s delicious pastels, yellows and inky blues. The process brought details back to life, such as a string of colored electric bulbs.

695---JHB---Festival-Town-cropped

696---Joburg-Festival-cropped

 

Cairo Late 1950s

Three images of old Cairo taken in 1959. The original slides were drive-by snaps or souvenirs. They are now really blasted by age, and are covered in dirt and mold. This condition seems to suit the subject, however, so I gave them a sepia treatment and enhanced texture. Cairo of the 1950s was a really different place to today, society there has become much more conservative, and conflict threatens ordinary ways of life as well as ancient relics. Just to consider Egypt and what it has meant to travelers from all over the world for decades, is to realize that countries have a responsibility towards world heritage. I guess that is UNESCO’s message. Historic Cairo became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979, 20 years after these pics were taken.

578---Cairo-1959-Pyramids

Necropolis

579---Cairo-1959-City

City

578---Cairo-1959-Street

Street

 

Sunday lunch in the veld

Sunday lunch was always done right – no matter where you were in the 1960s. At least it was in privileged white society in Southern Africa. One can feel a little uncomfortable noting this, however the undeniable beauty of the setting offers an alternative, more aesthetic focus for this image! The pastel colors of the veld, all yellows, blues, browns and greens, look perfect with the pastel pink crockery. I love the rich simplicity of the era and the formal traditions, so stuffy at the time, seem quaintly appealing now. No gadgets, branding, or cheap, bright camping paraphernalia – indeed outdoor repasts today have a completely different look and feel.

463---Sunday-lunch-in-the-veld

 

Doggie welcome

Everyone who knows dogs loves the welcome one gets when arriving home, how much better than in this awe inspiring, African mountain and farm setting. Love that fresh 1960s outfit, complete with impractical white shoes.

36---Happy-Dog-after

I applied a clean, painted effect and reworked the color.

Before and after

36---Happy-Dog-cropped

 

 

Posted by on September 15, 2014 in Africa, Country scene, Pets, Woman

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Big Man Little Fish

So endearing, this man. Despite being all hunky and handsome, I see the boy child within. He looks perplexed though, at having caught such a tiny fish.

Big-man-little-fish-after

And look, the picnic on the bank. Those cooler boxes are Colemans, recognisable by the white diamond-shaped logo. Thanks to his lady friend (imagined) who recorded this moment so lovingly.

 Big-man-fishing-after

 

 

Posted by on August 14, 2014 in Africa, Camping, Man, River

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Boys at the River

An African childhood, lived outdoors in nature, with friends. This is an inspiring image and an experience I am sure little boys all over the world long for. I love the little huddle, and the way they’re completely involved in their conversation –  unaware of the adult taking the photograph.

Boys-at-the-river-after-after

 

 

Posted by on December 13, 2013 in Africa, Children, Nature, River

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Chrome reflections

I do know where this was taken, and when – Congo 1963 – but prefer to make up my own story. In this scene – according to my imagination – a person is hunching down next to their 1950’s coupe and further down the bridge a group of zombies is gathering. Yes! Its a stand-off! But not the war of Congo Independence, its the war of humans against Zombies. Aghhrrrrr!

Car-reflections-after

Taking this surreal image in a grungy, desaturated direction turned out to be the right thing. With added atmosphere, a new sense of intrigue emerged. Hence Zombies!

Before and after

Car-reflections-cropped

Click for big.

 

Posted by on September 24, 2013 in Africa, Mysterious, Old cars, Road trip

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Snappy Dresser African Style

Africa has style! This image is from a wildlife tour in Kenya, 1970s. The bus had stopped in a village for refreshments and this stylishly dressed woman caught the eye of a tourist. I love the classic, African combination of colors and the jaunty yet sophisticated details of her outfit.

snappy-dresser-after

I cropped and straightened the image to bring the woman into focus, removed a person from the background and warmed up the color. With selective sharpening, details of the print and accessories really popped out.

Before and after

snappy-dresser-cropped

Click for big.

 

Posted by on June 18, 2013 in Africa, People, Portraits, Village life, Woman

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Car Identity Challenge

Can you identify these old cars? My father is somewhat of a car expert on the 1940’s through 1960’s and he has a good memory. As a young man he kept scrapbooks of all the latest car models. According to him, the blue car is a Ford Consol about 1950’s, and the black car is a Austin or Morris 1940’s vintage. The photographer probably took this pic of their brand new blue car alongside their old black one. Now both cars are vintage!

A closer cropping, lightening, brightening and re-coloring.

Before and after. Click for big.

 

Posted by on January 23, 2013 in Africa, Old cars

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Playing at Highway Robbers

The second image of a childhood game, lovingly captured by the parents. I’m guessing a little but I think they’re playing at Highway Robbers as opposed to say, pirates. Is it always the younger brother that gets tied up?

It was a challenge to get the coloring just right as everything was a variation of brown. In the end making the brown richer was the answer, and I only brought back cooler tones where there were true grays.

Before and after. Click for big.

 

Posted by on November 7, 2012 in Africa, Children, Games

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Playing at Scottish Soldiers

I have some great images showing the wonders of childhood, in the great outdoors. Not many, however, have been photographed from the child’s point of view, sensitively recording their fantasies and games. That’s why I like this one so much. Colonial times were recent in the early 1960’s and this shows the fantasy of Scottish soldiers, played out in the heat and dust of Southern Africa.

Before and after. Click for big.

 

 

Posted by on November 7, 2012 in Africa, Children, Games

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Woman and Straw Bale

Its so easy to romanticize a subject like this. I do admire her but I guess her reality may have been a different story than that of the rural idyll suggested here. As always the handmade appeals to me and I like the way the straw bale is hand rolled and tied with plaited grass ropes and the way a cloth has been folded on top so neatly.

In this one I worked a lot on the grass in the straw bale. It had horrid pinky-purple shadows and I wanted to bring out the warm greens and browns. Its a subtle change but makes it more real.


Before and after – click for big.

 

Posted by on October 15, 2012 in Africa, Rural life, Woman

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