Wednesday, May 6, 2009

What an amazing weekend it was!

The Delegates and our hostess, Rina (front row,3rd from the left)

Pic by Dani

It's been a while since my last blog entry mainly because I've been busy with work that pays (some of!) the bills and also because Joy and I were feverishly getting the first photographic breakaway weekend organised.
And what a rousing success it turned out to be!
Delegates arrived at Fountain Villa in Klerksdorp at around 17h00 on Friday evening.

Pic by Freek

After settling in and enjoying a gin and tonic, we commenced proceedings in the Gallery where we sat on genuine oriental hand-knotted rugs and antique Balinese furniture. It was a time to get acquainted and I gave the delegates a lesson on the "Golden Pyramid of Exposure". (Search this blog for a post about that.) It was new to all of them. These were all "auto" shooters who'd never heard of "aperture", "shutter speed" or "ISO".
Dinner was in the restaurant, the oldest building in what was once the old Transvaal and one of the original 12 Voortrekker houses built in 1837. Our hostess, Rina, prepared a meal few will soon forget -- four legs of lamb roasted at a low heat for 24 hours.
Much wine was consumed and it turned out to be a late night. Fortunately no one
wanted to get up to photograph the rising sun so, after breakfast and a lecture on composition and other photographic tricks of the trade, I issued each person with an assignment-sheet containing ten subjects, of which five had to be chosen and interpreted in whatever way the delegate chose. Topics included, portraiture, photo-journalism, lines, textures, nostalgia, natural beauty and self-portraits.

Pic by Douw


Then we set off for the old Boer War and concentration camp cemetery.
The place is run down and the graves vandalised but it makes for creating haunting and disturbing images.
It was interesting to see how people saw and photographed things differently, despite all being in the same environment. We spent a fair bit of time there then returned to Fountain Villa where delegates were free to wander around and photograph both inside and outside the 104 year-old house.
It was incredible to see how many were now manually setting their cameras and by doing so able to achieve the results they visualised. They were "making" rather than "taking" pictures!

Pic by Maggie

Judging and prize-giving took place in the gallery before dinner and proved to be more difficult than I'd anticipated. Each photographer had to choose and submit their five best images which were loaded onto a laptop for general display.
The standard of images was truly amazing and it was hard to get my head around the fact that, just 24 hours ago, all many of the delegates knew, was how to turn the camera on.
Photographs were judged and scored by other members of the group.
Over a chicken curry dinner that had some returning for three helpings -- you know who you are!-- prizes were handed out and another late, wine-filled evening ensued.
It was a blast and we're already busy planning the next photographic breakaway. Interest has been shown in a trip to Namibia and that is something definitely being considered.
I've posted examples of some of the images made during the breakaway and will load the rest on my website just as soon as I get the chance. Once done I will add a link here.


Pic by Marcelle

If you are interested in joining a photographic breakaway please click the link on the side panel.

Pic by Marieta

Pic by Nicolette

Pic by Ria

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