The Fountain Court, 1820 Settlers National Monument, a Photo Essay before #NAF18 takes over

As #NAF18 draws closer the 1820 Settlers National Monument gets busier and busier. So I took a chance yesterday that there would still be some peace to make a photo essay of my favourite part of the building – the Fountain Court. It’s quite a challenge being a central atrium that’s several stories deep. There’s natural light spilling in from two sides and down from the top but artificial light on the other two sides. I settled on my tiny 9mm fisheye body cap lens to pull in as much of the space as possible. The rectangular shapes of the famous yellowwood scaffolding sculpture, the many long pillars and banner-like Skotnes murals all help make dramatic shots. The fisheye lens does a great job of curving them round the Millstone Fountain and sunburst roof decoration.

 

Revealing the Sugarbirds at #NAF18

Opening up a roll of prints takes me straight back to childhood.  It’s the anticipation, the long wait since you finished the post production and uploaded the images to your printer in Port Elizabeth or Cape Town. Then you get the email, they’re done, and you have to wait for the courier to deliver.  24 hour delivery they say but if you are living in Grahamstown that can take anything up to five days.  Then, of course, they might deliver to a neighbour over the road (because you were out) and never bother telling you!

The Sugarbird images are black and white with the birds floating like oriental brushstrokes on a very pale background. I’d selected the Hahnemühle German Etching paper because I wanted a rich texture and as soon as I saw the images catching the late afternoon sunlight I was delighted with the result.

I’ve four Sugarbirds images in Metamorphosis – they’ll be on show thoughout the National Arts Festival (June 28 – 8 July) at the Johan Carinus Arts Centre.

The Sugarbirds Composite

The N2 by Night – Festinos’ delight?

The N2’s not an easy road and I don’t think many festinos’ would think it’s a delight: but most people will come to #NAF18 along it. Whether from Port Elizabeth or King William’s Town it snakes its way across a whole sequence of deep valleys. I just love the names of the rivers. On the PE side you leave Grahamstown through Howieson’s Poort and must cross the Berg, Palmiet, Assegai, Kariega and Bushman’s before the long dry stretch to the Sunday’s River at Colchester.

N2, Grahamstown, Howieson's Poort, #NAF18

N2 by Night: Howieson’s Poort

To the East of Grahamstown it’s across the Belmont Valley you go and over the Kowie River before the long climb up to Governor’s Kop. You’ve still got the Great Fish and Keisakamma to cross before you reach the Buffalo River bridge entering King William’s Town.

The N2 at Night makes a good photo essay. From the radio masts on the western end of Mountain Drive you can catch the car headlights coming up Howieson’s Poort. At the toposcope you can look down over the N2 bypass to the town’s lights. Below you is the Port Alfred road and the N2 weaving across the Belmont Valley and up through the cuttings beyond.

The Howieson’s Poort picture is one of this year’s Grahamstown series that I’m showing in Metamorphosis, June 28 – 8 July, at the Johan Carinus Art Centre during #NAF18.

 

 

 

Starting off with a flash and a bang – 55 days to go to #NAF18

This month certainly started with a bang – we had a spectacular storm last night that’s given me another picture for #NAF18.

Grahamstown, Lightning, #NAF18, Metamorphosis, Night Photography

Autumn Storm over Grahamstown

I shall add it to the three night pictures in the Grahamstown Series I’ve already printed for Metamorphosis. You get such cool colours and effects in night photographs whether it’s a moon rise, car headlights or lightning. But they’re quite tricky to take. Then there’s problem of just how to print them. This time I’ve selected something a little different – Ilford Metallic Gloss.

The prints have a slight metallic sheen with rich contrasts and plenty of detail.  They’ll be on sale at the exhibition and also through my online portal later this month.

The Face of the Exhibition

You must find a dramatic image to publicise your exhibition – that’s what the #NAF18 organisers tell you. This year it was easy because Meagen gave me a photo shoot and we got some really striking images. For the photo shoot I made a set of motifs from tree ferns, branches and lightning that I projected on to her. Meagen struck some amazing poses for me: strong, beautiful and challenging all at once.

Metamorphosis #NAF18 Johan Carinus Art Centre Grahamstown

Meagen Photo Shoot for Metamorphosis

I re-inserted these new images back into the originals I’d worked from. There’s two pictures from the shoot at #NAF18. They’re called The High Priestess and Justice.  Somehow they fitted into the themes of the two Tarot cards.  The High Priestess gazes out from deep within your subconscious, rooted in the natural world.  Justice looks at the past and the present and her many faces reflect all of your past decisions. They’re  new additions to the Symmetry series I showed at last years Arts Festival.

I was extremely fortunate to have a second photo shoot – this time with Natalie who featured in last year’s exhibition – but that must wait for a another post.

 

 

More metal – 71 days to #NAF18

We collected another eight metal prints from Orms Print Room in Cape Town last week. They’re going to be showcased in Metamorphosis, my fringe exhibition at the Johan Carinus Art Centre during the National Arts Festival 2018. The four monochrome prints are pictured here. They’re unusual because they don’t have any white. Instead the brushed aluminium shines through and the grain from the metal gives a great texture.