A Mix of Emotion
- 3rd November 2013 -

Fine Art Photography Newtown

It was a day of photography. As part of the fine art photography course I am doing, included is an exhibition of our finest work, 2 fine art photography prints exhibited at a gallery arranged by the owner of the training centre (a great opportunity), but the condition is that 1 of the photographs should be about the people in Newtown. So on this Sunday we all got together to explore the streets of this upcoming neighborhood, which has earned its name as the cultural and art hub of Johannesburg.

Fine Art Photography Newtown Broken

Fine Art Photography Newtown Building

We started off in the parking lot of Sci-Bono. Francois and Pieter were waiting when I arrived, so I greeted them and lit up a smoke while we waited for the rest to arrive. Carly arrived soon after, but we were still missing about 4 others, so we started to phone around. Turns out Mark and Peter John were already here 2 hours before us and Chris was parked somewhere else and Ilze had cancelled.

Fine Art Photography Newtown Education

I wandered around at Sci-Bono for a while getting some initial shots of the environment. I came across a couple who looked happy and were making-out close by, they weren't eager to get their photo taken but I sneaked one in anyway.

Fine Art Photography Sci-Bono

The man placed a grocery bag filled with baby stuff, nappies, baby formula, etc nearby. But after their discovery session he grabbed the bag and they parted ways in separate directions, the man taking the baby food and accessories with him. It then dawned on me that perhaps the lady in the photo is not the mother and this is a girlfriend who he decided to meet up with before returning home with goods he was sent out to get by his wife. But then again maybe I'm wrong and there is some other explanation.

Fine Art Photography Newtown Movement

Newtown Photography Door

Fine Art Photography Shadows

While the others ventured on, I setup my tripod to photograph a door under a broken light, it was about 11:00 am but I dropped the exposure, I played with a little irony in the post processing exercise, e.g. conflicting shadows, I also created the impression of light being on, but purposefully allowed it not to look too real, you could say it was an experiment.

I posted the image on the photo critic site run by the institution I am student of. The main critic took my picture apart, commenting on fact that the shadow is contradictory to the badly done artificial light source. Clearly he didn't get the message, maybe it was that I wasn't conveying the correct message, but I wasn't expecting excellent comments either.  However seeing that soon after commenting on my picture he praised, commended and "featured" another photograph that was very badly done, with very bad chromatic aberration and the post editing was clearly overdone to be the point where it created some bad digital artefacts. Also Francois posted a very good photo which he did get positive commentary on, but the critic failed to feature the image, in the "featured" category. Either way it is his own prerogative to add whatever comments he likes, it is after-all a critique site. Or maybe he was just having a bad day, either way it has possibly reached the point that I have gained what I can from this site. I do get the feeling that he is not very keen to do the critique anymore and an uninspired critic is an inconsistent one. If it was another student commenting I would have brushed it aside, but this guy is a staff member of the faculty, so one would at least expect consistency. I do understand that the site gets a lot of photos posted and it might be too much for one person to handle, but when things like this happen it does impact credibility.

So further on into the day we passed a young man sleeping on the side walk, I was reluctant to take a picture but when I passed round the back of him I was intrigued by the position he was lying so snapped up a quick one. Turns out it was one of my favourite photos of the day, but maybe my editing it not working properly, I will need to refine.

Fine Art Photography Street Newtown

I was excited to get some cool photographs of a structure down the road, but turns out I don't like them as much I thought I would. 

Fine Art Photography Old Station Building

Fine Art Photography Under Old Station

We decided to go to the Nelson Mandela bridge and get some photos but the light was pretty harsh and I didn't get much that I liked. Bored with the light I asked Francois to jump while I caught the vodka advertisement in the background.

Newtown Elevation Mandela Bridge
This photo does not represent the brand Absolute Vodka in anyway, but is purely part of the environment.

When we reached the end of the bridge and Peter John asked if we should continue on to Braamfontein and grab something to eat there.... we all agreed.

Fine Art Photography Newtown Knife

Photography Braamfontein Yellow Door

Braamfontein Photography Doubleshot

I ordered some coffee (I really needed it) and a breakfast to keep me going. After breakfast I took my camera while everybody was still chatting away and decided to get some shots of some kids playing in the open courtyard just outside the restaurant.

Photography Braamfontein Kids Soccer

Fine Art Photography Braamfontein Top

I learned soon after we left that everybody was tired and was going to leave, I was a little disappointed as I was willing to stick around until we got the good light at the end of the day, but I wasn't prepared to hang around on my own.... this is Newtown after all. 

Fine Art Photography Braamfontein Construction
This photo does not represent the brand Absolute Vodka in anyway, but is purely part of the environment.

So we passed back over the bridge where I got another photo of elevation, and then passed some interesting clothes on the side walk.

Fine Art Photography Newtown Dirty

Our drunk sleeping young man had moved to a grassy spot and continued his midday nap.

Fine Art Street Photography Newtown

Fine Art Street Photography Sidewalk Drunk

The "People of Newtown" was turning out to be a sombre and sad subject (with the exception of kids playing in the courtyard), but just before we got back to our cars I captured a little girl on the balcony of her apartment. She had a pleasant face, but as I felt a prisoner in this town, where wandering around on my own was not possible, I felt she was a prisoner in her apartment in this sombre neighborhood. It then dawned on me that all the happiness and honesty is all confined behind locked doors. Maybe the youth hidden away will be the change to Newtown it needs, but I guess it is up to us as a nation to make sure they don't continue the cycle of dishonesty, violence, vandalism and over indulgence in the coming generations.

Newtown Fine Art Photography Balcony

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