New Year's Eve Aftermath

Day One 2014 - Mary Fitzgerald Square
- 01 January 2014 -

Photography New Years Party 2014

The City of Johannesburg held a new year celebration on new years eve at the Mary Fitzgerald Square in the Newtown, Johannesburg. I hadn't made plans for the "new years eve celebration" this time round so I thought maybe I would go photograph others celebrating the end of their year. I came across this party on the internet and considered going out to photograph it, but this is in central Johannesburg, not the safest area in Gauteng to hang out in, especially alone! So I posted a comment on the Photo Critic site to see if anybody would accompany me, but as I suspected I didn't receive a response. After some back and forth consideration on going, I decided against it.

The event was expecting 10000+ people, and with me alone between probably a couple of thousand drunk people, in the one of the most crime stricken areas in South Africa, was just too much to handle. So instead I decided I would go through early on the first day of the new year to see what the after effects were of the massive drunken event.

Photography New Years Aftermath

I parked my car near the square and headed straight for the M1 motorway which would give me a relative birds eye view of the area. I first walked towards the stairs leading up to the motorway, but a friendly security guard I passed warned that there might be some dodgy characters in that area and I should rather take the long way round. I thanked him and proceed towards the closest motorway onramp. I purposefully decided not to remove my camera from my backpack until I was in place on the motorway sidewalk. I figured that the motorway is a relatively open area where I can see what is coming and most "bad" people wouldn't risk stopping on the motorway if they could resist it.

So after passing some people still partying and a couple of other roamers, I reached the spot overlooking the square, I whipped out my camera and started taking some photos. There were clearly some people still in the "New Year's" spirit.

Mary Fitzgerald Square Party Morning

Photography New Years Mary Fitzgerald Square

Johannesburg Mary Fitzgerald Party Aftermath

The stage used for the event was still standing, but there were some workers busy dismantling it. Other than that there was plenty of rubbish lying around....

Newtown New Years Even Party Morning

Johannesburg New Years Even Photography

Aftermath New Years Party Dove

The pigeons were capitalizing on the rubbish and bits they could consume, but so were some homeless.... cashing in on the excess of cans lying around all over the place.

I kept a close eye on my surroundings to spot anyone approaching, but luckily my strategy was working and I was pretty much alone. When I arrived the sun was still hiding behind some buildings so I had to wait a fair amount of time to get some dramatic morning shadows.

Mary Fitzgerald Square Photography Aftermath

Photography Mary Fitzgerald Square Party Next Day

Shadow Photography Newtown

Mary Fitzgerald Square Party Aftermath

2014 Party Rubbish Newtown

Mary Fitzgerald Party Aftermath

There was all sorts of people crossing the square, some people looked like they on their way to work, and some people just out for a morning walk.

Johannesburg Square Party 1st January 2014

Ariel Shot Photography Mary Fitzgerald Square

A car on the onramp joining onto the motorway was approaching slowly, so I kept my eye on it while I snapped up the last of the photos. 

Newtown Pigeons After Party

Mary Fitzgerald Square Photography

The car was getting closer and now there were a group of people walking closely behind the car. It appeared that the car was broken and some guys were pushing it onto the busy road. This didn't really make sense to me, why would they push a vehicle onto a busy highway where there is no shoulder lane. As they approached closer I could now count about 7 people. I start walking in the opposite direction. This way off the motorway is quite a distance, but it was the only way out, so I made my peace and picked up the pace. I heard some of the characters calling out from the vehicle, they might have to be been calling out to me but I didn't really know, regardless I kept walking. It was about a 2km walk to the next offramp, but eventually I got there and then had to walk all the way back to car, about another 2 kilometers. After about a 45 minute walk I was back at my car, still feeling a bit edgy I climbed in and headed home as the adrenaline started to subside.

The aftermath of 10000+ drunk people wasn't as bad as I thought, and probably could have found more devastation.... but I was looking forward to a nice cup of coffee, securely at my home.... relieved!

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