olive and oak

elize strydom's photo journal

Month: July, 2015

this is south africa – part one

000096060036

000096060031

000096060023

000096060008

000096080007

000096080001

000096050025

000096050027

000096050031

000096050012

000096050018

000096040014

000096040021

000096070007

000096070032

000096080016

000096080023

000096080035

000096090008

000096090020

000096090022

I’d been to South Africa twice before but had only visited major cities and tourist-y spots. Shooting Small Town Girl there earlier this year meant I was able to get off the beaten track and meet real people and get a taste of their day to day lives. I feel like my assumptions of South Africa were constantly being challenged/smashed and for that I am extremely grateful. In Nieu-Bethesda I photographed Rebecca and stayed with her family and didn’t want to leave. The landscape reminded me of something in between Broken Hill, Australia and Palm Springs, USA and I had to keep reminding myself where I was. The village proper has a population of approximately 100 people (and no paved roads…but a charming network of water furrows). With the surrounding farms and black/coloured township that number is closer to 1500. It’s situated in the Great Karoo, a vast semi-desert region, and is scorching in summer and snowy in winter. Much like Broken Hill, there are little galleries and studios all over town and ever second person you meet is a painter or jeweler or ceramicist. While Rebecca was at school I cruised around Nieu-Bethesda on a bike, taking photos of this and that, and hung out at this place which was part beer brewery, part coffee roastery and part cheese factory. So, in other words, heaven (aka The Brewery). I met two US backpackers there and we went on a canyon hike then caught a ride back to town on the roof of a local’s old Landrover. I drank Rooibos tea with Rebecca’s beautiful mum Bronwen and we connected over similar life choices and upbringings and outlooks. On Friday night a South African musician named Guy Buttery performed and afterwards I found myself sitting around a campfire with a group of locals and a few other travelers , sharing stories and smokes. I rode my bike home through the black night aware of my place below the massive mountains. The next few days at Rebecca’s place consisted of rustic meals around the family table, a trip through the Owl House, swims and a picnic lunch in a gorge. I wanted to wrap myself up in the warmth of this little family forever. I felt so nourished after a week with them in such a spectacular, peculiar hidden gem of a small town.

These shots were taken on my Leica M6 and Canon 1V and developed/scanned at Richard Photo Lab.

 

 


					

here there and everywhere

IMG_0395

So I feel like a bit of an internet hog at the moment. I’ve done lots of interviews/Q&As re: Small Town Girl and while I’m thrilled that the project is attracting interest and that people are connecting, I’m uncomfortable with self-promotion. But I’m trying to look at it in the same way a band might when they release an album. They present something they’ve been working on in private to the public and then talk about it/answer questions then tour then disappear again and toil away on something new. I’m far more interested in the ‘toiling away’ part. And I know that will begin again soon: I’m making plans to go photograph Indigenous girls and young refugees in Western Australia. But if you have some time to kill between now and then, feel free to click on one or two of the articles below and listen to me waffle on!

Small Town Girl on…

Buzzfeed

Vice

Between 10 and 5

The Australian newspaper

Ngaio Parr’s blog

Jason de Plater’s blog

The Daily Examiner (my hometown newspaper!)

The drawing above is by the wonderful Ngaio and I’m flattered! I mean, how often does someone take the time to draw you? Such a cool thing.