To begin ‘Walking the City’, again, started off as a bit of a wobbly process. The main challenge with adding onto an existing project is not to redo | copy | rehash photographs but to reimagine | reinvent | reinterpret and to ultimately do something a little different. Luckily for me my subject matter is Cape Town, a place in a constant state of flux.
I began this project last year with the need to capture something of the essence of Cape Town and what it is to be in and experience the city space. This driving force has not changed. I think it is important for me as a member of the public to show the Cape Town that I experience as opposed to the well packaged | high gloss brochures of our wonderful city [facade vs. functionality]. Cape Town is crawling with untold stories and it is my interest to begin the task of picking them up and sharing the narrative that exists on the cement and asphalt of the space.
I used much of the first day of the residency settling in to the beautiful, clean, white cube space that Orms Cape Town School of Photography has set aside for me. It’s good to take a bit of time to acclimatize and to get to know the people in the office across the passageway and the pink rimmed glasses at the front desk. I felt like I was fumbling a bit when I went out for my first shoot that evening. I was walking and was afraid to start taking pictures and then I hit a phase of taking pictures for the sake of taking pictures( not productive either). I think it is the most important thing to realise that with street photography, as I have experienced it thus far, is to let go. You can’t fully anticipate what you will find or what situation will unfold before your eyes. The trick is to be fully immersed in the space and to pay attention – Look.
This is not an easy thing to do and you have to put yourself into this frame of mind every time you go out to shoot. For a few days prior to the residency I started looking at the work of other street photographers and when shooting, I found myself trying to take ‘their’ photographs. I realised this as soon as I started doing it and at the point I let go and began looking for myself. Cape Town is a completely different creature to anywhere else in the world and you have to treat whichever context you are in with fresh eyes and a keen finger on the shutter release. As soon as you get in the flow and start walking on a visual journey you will start capturing something else.
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