A Trip to Cape Town

Me and my fiancé, the lovely Lulu, went down to Cape Town in May to look at wedding venues. This is a taste of the trip to this beautiful part of the world.

Here is a selection of the images, see the full gallery by clicking here.

Want a print of one of these? Drop me a mail at danbrettrosenthal@gmail.com

Bike Ride in B&W

I went for a ride this morning with my buddy Dave.

He was on his Harley Davidson Nightster, I was on my Victory Cross Country. We ended up at Priest Espresso Bar in Rosebank. It was a great morning. Riding, with a friend, is the best. We had a pastry thing called a Moregasm. Nuf said. Damn.

Till next weekend. I love to ride. Also, my 35mm F2 Canon lens (the older one, non-IS) is just so bloody lovely…

Hope you’re all having a good weekend.

Pic of me by Dave. Thanks Dave!

Christmas Eve Street Photography on Louis Botha

This past Tuesday was Christmas Eve. I was lying on the couch, reading about Sebastiao Salgado and looking at some of his remarkable images.

I felt the pang for creating work, not just ‘taking pics’, but making something more substantial, something with meaning. I don’t know if I did, except to say that it was meaningful and enjoyable for me. I suppose time will be the judge of it’s meaning – time and critics and a body of work larger than I have yet made.

In any event, I went walking down the road on which I live, Louis Botha Avenue in Johannesburg. This is a walk I have made before with my camera. I have written on these electronic pages and shown pictures before.

This was somehow different. I had recently sold my digital cameras. I made a decision about the work I would be doing from next year and the tools and expectations I would have for this work. I would be rethinking the way I earned a living, reassessing the rigor of my art.

I have a small compact still, a Sony W110. It is outdated and severely limited. I could have taken it out to get fast feedback and faster editing and upload times. But I have made a decision and the Salgado work only seemed to reinforce those reasons behind the idea.

I took out my lovely Ricohflex VII twin lens reflex camera. I could have taken my Canon system with wider and longer lenses and a self-timer and cable release. But I wanted to shoot sparingly and edit my photos. I wanted to be able to have the speed and enjoyment of digital. but I wanted to shoot Black and White film. Was I being silly?

I loaded the camera with Fujifilm Neopan 100. I’d never used this film before. I went out and finished the current roll of Lomo 800 colour film and began to shoot the Fuji stock. It was slow. It was hard to frame on the dim waist-level finder. It was starting to drizzle.

I used my Minolta lightmeter to check light levels (I also usually use my iPhone and a lightmeter app but I left it at home tonight – this is not the safest street to be walking around at night with valuables…) and then held the shutter open for anything from 4 to 30 seconds, being ever so careful not to bump the camera as I tripped the shutter then let it go. It felt a little bit arcane. It was beautiful.

I got home and loaded the film into a developing tank, surprised that I was able to feed it onto the spool first time. I have had rolls of 120 that simply refused to load. I developed the film in D76 for ten minutes and the watched an episode of Hannibal while I waited for it to dry.

Soon enough, scans were made and an image had been uploaded to Flickr. Then within minutes, it had 60 views and a fave. We are living in splendid and fascinating times.

I felt revived and humbled to have been able to make the images I did, in the time I did and share them with the world, knowing that I am just a microcosm of a wonderful whole.

Here are the photographs, in the order they were shot. There was a blank frame and so there are only 11 shots. I have no idea what happened with that empty frame…

Thanks for looking. What does the new year hold for you and your photography?

Photo Essay – Louis Botha Avenue

Originally, I shot this on spec to send to a magazine. The one I had in mind wasn’t interested in running it. So I decided to share it here. Obviously, I’d still love to see this in print and so anyone interested in running these in a magazine or e-zine, please get in touch.

_ _________ _

Louis Botha is a busy road that runs all the way from Pretoria to Johannesburg. It snakes it’s way through some of Johannesburg’s most bustling areas along the way and is a multicultural phenomenon.
The people and places along the stretch of road running through Orange Grove is the subject of these photographs. There are vibrant street scenes with people who are full of life and energy.
What was once a busy shopping and commercial district has become run-down and dirty with many shops closed and vacant. The residents and owners of new and makeshift shops have ignored the disrepair and have embraced the area, filling many of the spaces with “spaza” shops, hairdressers, bars and churches.
The South African spirit of entrepreneurship is alive and well here, mixing with immigrants from all over the continent and beyond and making a place that is exhilarating to see, a little scary to walk through and a quirky nod to the future of Johannesburg.

Running through both poor and affluent suburbs, Louis Botha Avenue sees its fair share of supercars and jalopies. Here, a new Porsche races past low-rent shops selling everything from used HiFi’s to traditional medicine.

The proprietor of this Spaza shop cleans out a bowl in the street.

A mother and child are pleased to have their picture taken.

Closed curtains and locked doors. there are many shops that are standing vacant. This area was bustling 30 years ago.

Necessities and unusual items on display through an open window.

A woman having her hair neatened and braided in a well-utilized space.  
A baker stands proudly over his delicacies at Teddy’s Bakery. A tiny shop with almost no branding or presence save for an inconspicuous sign, their goods are quite delicious. The chocolate doughnuts were the best I’ve had. 
A cobbler plies his trade on a street corner, surrounded by plastic bags and crates. I’ve lived in the area for over a decade and this gentleman has been here as long as I can recall.

Dark passages in old buildings. There is a man sitting just out of view  behind the boarding on the window, keeping watch. 
The hand-painted signs on cafés and businesses show wear-and-tear. People bustle about ignoring the paintwork in need of attention. The combination gives the area a remarkable character and vibrancy.

Churches have taken residence in many of the businesses.

A desolate building that once sold African gift and curios stands in disrepair. Men and women ignore the state of the buildings along the road and make their living selling goods, gifts and curios – though the average buyers are locals rather than tourists.

Taking a break from his work, a car mechanic spends some time catching up on his messages.

Barbed wire along a row of shuttered shops.

A gentleman sits selling his wares: snacks, sweets in packets, fruit and vegetables.

A group of ladies and children socialise on the steps of a run-down building. 
A tiny hole in the wall being used as a makeshift business for men who collect scrap materials for cash.

A group of young men eagerly posed for me to photograph them then turned and carried on down the street, talking and laughing animatedly. 

All Content ©D. Rosenthal 2012. No use without prior permission.