Doing A Street Beat

Posted in clicking 365 project

Doing A Street Beat

It’s a strange, strange world we live in Master Jack, it’s a very strange world and I’ll never go back.  Don’t take my word on lyrics; I make them up all the time. 

 It is through living that we discover ourselves, at the same time as we discover the world around us.” ― Henri Cartier-Bresson, Henri Cartier-Bresson: The Modern Century

Many purist photographers believe Monochrome is the only form of expression when it comes to photography.  I think that statement is debatable, I’m sure to see the world in colour is more natural, if you’re not colour blind.

Every week I make a special trip to the Ansie Louw building, right there on the opposite side of the road from the taxi rank, this is where I take my re-cycling bag, filled with the week’s paper, plastic and glass and a few odds and sods which we don’t need any more.   The people who work there are all physically disabled, the degree of their disability is immaterial, and this is where someone who’d like to work and fend for himself can find gainful employment without being humiliated because of various labour rules or regulations.  Here you can make a difference according to your abilities.

A cheerful bunch of people who always rush to pick up my bags, with huge smiles glowing with pride.  I decided they will be the subject of my 46th day.   For me the joy was not only in making the photography but in the willingness and enthusiasm each person showed once I’d explained my 365 adventure.  The smiles were infectious.

Tolerance in the South African context is a debatable subject.  One minute we’re like a rash and the next we wouldn’t touch the same person with a bargepole; it all depends on the cause.  For months a senior citizen has been living in his Volkswagen beetle in a parking bay on one of our busiest streets right in the CBD.   The police even check on him every evening, friendly shopkeepers and homeowners offer him their facilities, feed and probably clothe him too.  He’s as happy as Larry. 

How he gets away with it is beyond understanding.  He pays no rent, no parking fees, no Municipal taxes, no levies or charges, he’s not bothered by load shedding, the quality of the programmes on T.V or the latest news in Nepal.  Unfortunately he was out on a walk-about today, so I’ve only got his car to show.  He’s a Bolchy old bugger so in a way I’m pleased I missed him.  Will get him on another day as I’d love to ask him whether squatting in a public place is legal!

The guy with dreadlocks was only too happy to do the Riel, a dance, for me, his smile was infectious and he really is photogenic, I had to oblige him and take a photograph of his friend too, he was guarding his earthly possessions, what we’d take to be recycled.  One man’s cast-off might be another man’s treasure.

Autumn is a good time to do a renovation as can be seen by the painter’s abseiling along the walls and spires of the Moeder (Mother) Church, I thought they looked grand, like spiders spinning webs up and down the walls.

To tell this story I decided to keep my digital darkroom uniform and therefore all the photographs were done in exactly the same way.  The light still shines individually in each person’s eye.  We’re not clones or robots; we are individuals with unique features, personalities and characters.  That’s what makes us human and that’s what makes our lives important.

Last but not least, I made a quick stop at the Public Library and I'm happy to report it's abuzz with people reading, studying, getting information from the librarians and computers.  All was quiet as it should be too! So uplifting and promising.

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