olive and oak

elize strydom's photo journal

Tag: leica

this is south africa – part two

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In the heat of the day the dusty streets of Jouberton are deserted but once the sun starts to sink they fill with families, men on their way home from work, quarreling kids, grandmas in green and the occasional chicken. Cooking ingredients are exchanged and meal offers are made but no one goes home until well after dark. There’s nowhere else to be and it’s clear that nothing’s more important than sitting by the side of the road chatting with your neighbour while your children play nearby.

18 year old Mpho lives with her grandmother, mother, little brother, aunties and cousins plus two month old Lethabo in a three bedroom home. “Family and friends come to stay all the time,” she says. “It’s hard to get a bath around here – unless you’re Lethabo.”

She completed her matric (year 12 exams) last year at a boarding school a few hours away but has now moved home again. She plans to go to college next year and wants to be a nurse. We spend the days walking around her neighbourhood (“Everyone is staring at you,” she said. “But don’t worry, I’ll be your bodyguard.”) and hanging out with her best friend, Lebogang, singing along to songs on the music channel and sitting by the side of the road eating ice blocks to stay cool. Lebogang and Mpho grew up together in Jouberton. He’ll finish high school at the end of the year and then plans to move to Cape Town to study law. They both love music and have incredible singing voices. “Do you like Sia? What about Ellie Goulding? And London Grammar? Yes? Ahhh we’re the same!” said an excited Mpho.

As soon as school finishes, Mpho goes from house to house, visiting her friends. They sit outside listening to music on their phones, eating peaches and pomegranates from the trees or chips and ice blocks bought for less that 10 cents from one of the many ‘tuck shops’. One day I offered Mpho some of my dried fruit/nut/seed mix. She wasn’t keen. “Ew, no thanks!” Later she offered me some of her chicken feet (aka ‘runaways’). You can probably guess my response.

Mpho always wears a hat and long pants or sleeves – even on 40 degree c days like today – because she says she doesn’t want her skin to get any darker. “I’m black on the outside but white on the inside,” she told me.

Photographing Mpho was just one of those wonderful, unexpected encounters that ended up being better than anything I could have imagined or planned. Being the only white person in the community felt uncomfortable and strange but I think it was important to experience that.  At times it was confronting and challenging but for the most part it was just plain fun. Mpho and I really connected and she felt like a real friend.

All photos shot with a Leica M6 and Kodak Portra film. Developed and scanned at Richard Photo Lab.

twenty twenty

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I carry my camera around everywhere and some days I take 10 photos while other days I take zero. It means I end up with quite a mixed bag of shots, some of which I totally forget about until I get the scans back. And so I present to you 20 photos from the last little while…

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1. An engagement party at the Grounds of Alexandria 2-6. Do you know Ngaio? You need to know Ngaio. We spent an afternoon together at her place 7-12. With my nieces and my brother in Coffs Harbour a few days after I got back from South Africa 13-15. Maddy + Jake, Christina and Faith + Yudi at their Parkes wedding in early May 16. Brendan just before he moved to Melbourne 17. My best girl, Ali, at Mecca the morning after my exhibition opened 18. Monstera around the pool at my new digs 19. Chloe and Lee trekked out to Vaucluse to visit me and have brunch at The Trail 20. A girl on the train in the morning sun.

I took some of these shots with my Canon 1V and some with my Leica M6 which is now broken, oh so very broken. Kodak Portra 35mm film. Developed and scanned at Richard Photo Lab.

sundowner

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I told you I’d be back soon! Yeah, I know, more pics from summer (I took a whole lot – it was a good one) but it’s a sunny 22 degrees C in Sydney (what winter?) so I was reminded of this glorious Cronulla afternoon with Rachel, Chloe, Lee, Sophie and Maddy.

old news

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An old picture taken in my old room late last year (the old days). This room, this time, feels like forever ago. Since moving out of that house I’ve slept in 18 (count ‘em!) different beds and am now settled in just one. Well, more like two.

In 2014 I made a concerted effort to get back into books. Reading is something that brings me great joy and fulfilment but somehow I’d let it slip away. I read 20 books and these are some of them. I was hoping to get through 40 this year but I’m off to a terrible start. I’m part-way through Spinster – Making a Life of One’s Own by Kate Bolick, Girl in a Band by Kim Gordon, Cry of the Kalahari by Mark & Delia Owens and Phenomenal by Leigh Ann Henion.

There are many, many photos I’d like to post and stories I’d like to share but this is it for now. I’ll be back soon, promise.

summer type stuff – part three

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1. Brendan at Gordons 2. Brendan in Marrickville 3. Inner city greenery 4. Faith and Yudi just before they got married 5. Spit to Manly walk vista 6. Leica light leak ladies – Lee and Sophie at the MCA 7. One of my last days at the house on Wilson street 8. New friends on the train from Wynyard to Redfern 9. Mama at Brickfields a few days after Christmas 10. Changing room window 11. Anna and little man George 12. Goodbye Lyndsay ‘the Doctor’ McDougall! 13. Chippendale laneways 14. Reading on the rocks

All photos shot with a Leica M6 and Kodak Portra Film. Developed/scanned at Richard Photo Lab.

summer type stuff – part two

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And just like that, I’m back! South Africa was fascinating and wild. The small town girls I met and photographed have such a special place in my heart and will never be forgotten. There’s so much more to say about the journey but for now, let’s go back to before. All photos shot with a Leica M6 and Kodak Portra film. Developed/scanned at Richard Photo Lab.

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try hard

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A few weeks ago I took the plunge and bought a Leica. I’ve always thought Leicas were reserved for super serious street photographers or people with bags and bags of money. I simply didn’t think I ‘deserved’ one. Somewhere along the line I saw the error in this logic and started researching rangefinders. I decided to go with an M6 with a 50mm Ziess lens. When I hold it, I’m reminded of the feeling of holding a tiny kitten so its nickname is Kitty. (Strange, I know.) Here are some images from my first roll – just simple stuff to start with, I’ll get more experimental once I know what I’m doing. I’m still getting used to a manual focus lens – I’m so slow! – and I’m pretty pretty sure I loaded two rolls of film incorrectly but hey, it’s all part of the film photography FUN, right? This post features Amelia, Steph and Brendan. Plus Rach’s fridge in our kitchen.

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