These were my very first attempts. I got up before dawn on morning, drove out to a site that I've often wanted to photograph, and took the shots just as the sun came up. I even got stuck going though thick, muddy sand trying to get there!
The pic titled "The At Last Tree" got its name from the fact that I have driven past this beautiful dry tree so many times think I should photograph it. Well, that took me six years to do. All the shots were taken at a deserted old homestead that simply oozes character and would serve as a great backdrop for a fashion shoot or a CD cover.
The Blue House
Sorry, dudes, the posterization effect was not intended. It started out as a bad scan and regressed into the psychedelic affair! The original and plain ol' un-Beatled Blue House will be available for perusal soon.
The At Last Tree
I drove past this tree umpteenth times to go and fly my paraglider on a nearby hill, but never got around to capture it. Until one morning when I set out with determination and nearly got stuck in thinck sand, trying to reach the dead damn tree. And then I had to wait in freezing conditions for the light to peek over my shoulder and just hightlight the tree.
Philadelphia Sky 1
One angle of a dilapidated old building. I tried various angels until I realised I'm starting to waste film. I wish I had a panoramic camera for a really flattened shot.
After the success of the Philadelphia series, I rummaged through old negatives for a collection of images I shot for a coffee-table book on the Elim missionary station some four years before. The book, sadly, never happened, (yeah right, we can but dream, OK?) but the images were revived in colour as the "Elim" series and depicts the decay of the station's historic buildings just before they were renovated beyond recognition.
One of my favourite shots and by far the best seller. This particular one is still in my possession because it was too dark to my liking. I kept it back, but later added some highlights to the yellow arum lillies all the same.
Shows you, in some neighbourhoods you just can't leave your vehicle unattended! A very difficult shot to colour, this one. The wheelbarrow was the only logical object to add colour to. Fortunately they do sell painted wheelbarrows in this country, so I could make this one look reasonably real.
This pic drove me nuts. The red table was too dark, yet the only logical object to colour. I battled for hours, adding layer after layer of paint. Eventually I tried colouring the gate and the leaves in the foreground too, as an experiment, and left the shot like that. I might just change it again later. What's the use of a mind if you can't change it?
Deciding what to colour in this shot was the most difficult, as the huge surface presented by the house's walls and roof called for a special technique. It's always very difficult to get a nice, smooth finish on untextured surfaces such as a wall. Also, because of the size of the area to be coloured, the sheer impact of the colour could have been overpowering. That's why I opted for a more subdued green for the roof and a mix of colours (can't really remember which!) for the walls.
Doing the mouldy bits on the gate is my favourite, as I mix colours to get that old, peeled-paint look. It adds to the "second take-effect" - people look at what they perceive to be a black&white shot, then having a closer look when they realise there's some colour present too. The nett result is that they can never make up their minds. I like it that way - it keeps them focused on the work for longer than they would normally allow themselves!
You may have noticed I don't like mowing the lawn. Especially not with a murderous machine like this one. (Memories of my childhood days haunting me now!). I used pencils to colour the mower, which are easier to work with in confined areas but more demanding in terms of the texture your colouring takes. Pencils tend to leave not-so-great lines that have to be smoothed out with cotton afterwards. Well, mine do, anyway!
Enter the Acre
The entrance to the Elim graveyard. I found the trees in the background so spooky, I had to take a shot. The gate's colour left me with a problem - what colour would one normally apply to a gate, if it were yours? The idea, I thought initially, is to keep my pics as close to reality as possible. And then I decided what the hell, it's my gate and I can do with it what I want, so I painted it this ugly red, probably the most striking colour in my collection of oils.
Things that go scrape in the night
As children in the Kalahari desert we were taught not to talk about the bodily functions in public unless you were a doctor, and then only in guarded and polite terms. Well, stuff that, let's make some arty statement with said utensils. The pot was lying on a heap of rubble from a semi-demolished house. I picked it up and parked it on a wall to catch the last of the evening sun. The local townsfolk looked at me strangely when I raised my camera!
The woman hanging her washing was totally unaware of the camera. What attracted me to the shot was this surfing trunks hung out to dry. This is probably one of the most unlikely places you'll ever find surfing trunks, I suppose.
Sundry shotsThe Oil Race
Two oil tins that I found in an antique shop in Wellington. It was raining outside, and the soft light streaming in through the old building's windows were perfect for this kind of moody shot. The nice thing about posing shots like these is that your subjects don't have to smile and sit very still.
The owner of the antique shop was convinced that I had gone crazy when I sneaked up to the doorknob. The light was so dull, the yellow copper shone in an otherwise monotone environment - and that's exactly what attracted me. Looking through the lens, I realised colouring the knob's lighter surface would make an excellent canvas for a dash of yellow oil.
One of my wedding shots, later coloured for the client, Vernita. This picture just had the right feel to it for colouring. And there's the standard old building in the background to help it on, too! Vernita's slightly sullen expression (not a typical wedding one!) adds to the atmosphere of the pic.