• wil

Instead of Ashes, the Oil of Gladness | Part 1/7

It has been quiet on the wedding front over the weekend – it felt like a holiday!  I managed to spend time with friends, my family and lots of time in the mountains.  This is where the idea struck –  to share and celebrate a photographic venture of 5 years ago.  I hope you will find these stories and pictures inspiring to pursue your dream in photography.  Just like I did …

I absolutely love Africa – her unending landscapes, enduring animals, unmatched sunsets and lazy wildness.  And to top it all, the African people are the most beautiful I have seen in all my ventures. Back in 2004, I realised how these lovely people have been portrayed to the rest of the world through photography  … kids had noses and tears running, flies were part of every portrait and their expressions spoke of everything dark and sad.  I felt the need to show others the real people of our continent …

I decided to use a part of Isaiah 61:3 as the theme for my next move.  It spoke of circumstances and attitudes that expressed the hearts of the strong African people I knew.  After a few emails, long distance phone calls, organizing of visas and purchasing a Michelin Map of Africa and Lonely Planet Guide Book, I was set to go and capture.

THE PLAN:  Fly to Nairobi; make my way to the north west corner of Kenya for the Turkana dessert people; meet Adri (then only my girlfriend, now my wife) at Lake Victoria 2 weeks later and to travel down by public transport to South Africa capturing moments in people.  I gave us 6 weeks for the trip, 1 week at home to develop and choose the pics and then it was off to Esbjerk, Denmark for the month long exhibition – my first one!

THE KIT:  The legend Nikon F100 SLR (yes, a 35mm Film Camera for the digital generation), a bunch of Velvia, Provia, Fuji and Kodak films, my passport, a Karrimor backpack, MSR tent, camping stove & pot and my pipe.

And so the journey of a lifetime (and looking back, probably my professional career) started …

I’ll be sharing some photos and stories in the coming week on how I went to create a product from literally nothing for this overseas exhibition.  In the mean time, here is the Theme Photograph as a taster.  I am proud to say that this one has been the winner of the National Geographic Intercontinental Honourable Award in the beginning of 2009.  This award made me realise that these pictures were too valuable to keep to myself.  After all, it gave me the confidence to pursue a career in photography.  With much grace involved of course …

Instead of Ashes, the Oil of Gladness


Gleaming boy in corn fields close to Lake Nakuru, Kenya.  August 2004

#Africa