Cover Concept for ‘The Cull’

I’ve been working on some cover concepts for Harry Owen’s upcoming collection ‘The Cull: new and resurrected poems’.  It’s taken a while to get to the finished product but now both Harry and Amitabh Mitra, who’s publishing it through the Poets Printery, are very enthusiastic about this one.

The Cull: full cover

The basis for the cover is a picture of Harry taken in front of the fig tree in his Grahamstown garden.

Harry Owen

I wanted to show him literally embedded in nature – that reflects the subject of this collection of poems – and experimented with Adobe Photoshop Mix on my iPad. I selected a couple of pictures from earlier this year when I went to the Maasai Mara and superimposed them over him so that the textures mixed together. Amitabh had suggested that I used some red in the cover so I added a garish sunset as the final layer.

I mirrored the final image so that it could act as both the front and back covers and then added borders and text.

Covers front and back

Covers front and back

We had worked earlier with the same idea but using a landscape image for the front cover – that’s what’s shown in the slideshow here – but rejected that as the book will be in the standard portrait style with dimensions of 3 x 4.

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I really like the way the elephant’s trunk and tusk merge with Harry’s face in this one.  There’s plenty more animals too – giraffes, vultures and a hyena!


A weekend at Cintsa

Spending the weekend with Harry at Cintsa was a little tricky .. after all were we at Cintsa, Chintsa or Chinsta (see first three pictures below)?  And was it going to be a bachelor weekend for the two of us or were we going to be two Grumpy Old Men … I leave you to guess.

In any case we had a great time. The weather and light were nice for photography on the Friday evening and Saturday morning which is when I took most of these pictures. Palm trees taken with the black and white filter, squatting below the weaver birds’ nests, waiting for the sunbirds to sing and, as usual, night photos with long exposures: in other words the usual culprits! Fortunately the humpback whales were too far out for me to even try and photograph them. So I could just enjoy watching the mothers and calves breaching and twisting out of the water in unison, see the vertical tail waving and watch the splashing and bashing of the water that was going on. Here’s some great YouTube footage of Humpbacks breaching.

Saturday was also the handover of the international rhino anthology to Amitabh Mitra, Harry’s publisher in East London.  You can read about that and see the photographic record in For Rhino in a Shrinking World.  We came home on Sunday to the damp and drizzle of Grahamstown …