Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Speak now or forever keep your yap shut......

Speak now or forever hold your peace….

I love that moment in a wedding, the collective breath holding, the collective sigh of relief as the moment passes in silence punctuated by a few nervous laughs and great puffs of exhaled breath.

On Saturday passed, I had a wedding gig at Daan Viljoen Reservoir/Park about 20kms west of Windhoek. Fortunately it was on the low side of sweltering for this late afternoon wedding. A great time was had by all.  I still find photographing the process a blast, I think of it as stream of consciousness portraiture. The day requires intense concentration for 8 to 10 hours or more.  Never knowing when circumstances will serve up a classic image. At the end, when the bouquet has flown I am always exhausted.  The next day when I begin to plow through the images I see the payoff from the attention spent.

To have such a pivotal role in creating the record of the day, images that will serve as memory triggers down through time is really a privilege. Thank you Ryno and Malinda!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Rolling the dice for fame and fortune

I digress......

Living as I do off the edge of the map so to speak I have essentially zero opportunity for real time, face to face interaction with other photographers, access to workshops or other learning opportunities. Mostly I struggle through issues by sheer force of will or with the help of kindly photographers in the outside world. One thing that happens with your work, when you show it to family or friends, is they will always say Wow! I love that picture to your face and then to your Aunt or Uncle, Brother Sister they will say, "you know we're worried about Chris, it seems he has living alone with his 30 cats for too long....."

The solution to that is to pony up your cash and enter competitions. Something I do with painful regularity. I usually get past the first round, which is where the images that are blurry, skew, have a finger on the lens or are otherwise complete fecal matter get cut. When I am really fortunate I get to the final round, few things will goose your ego like the letter that begins, "Dear Mr. Johnston, we are pleased to inform you that your image 'portrait of a young lady on the Hindenburg' has been short listed for the final round of judging. Then it goes quiet and I know close, but no ceegar.

That is not to say that I haven't lucked out a few times and made the awards, sometimes honorable mentions, sometimes a place and a couple of time the brass ring. Win (rarely) lose (mostly) or draw I keep sluggin it out.

One competition I enjoy is called Open to Interpretation, ( ) I made the finals and was selected last time out for 'Fading Light' and I have spent a good deal of time over the last month creating 5 images to submit for the current competition, 'LustLove'. As this is a family rated blog I will show you the last of the 5. This is my good friend Mistress Hannah D who somehow makes chocolate cake sensual...thank you Hannah. WOW!

PS. This also marks my first posting on Facebook.....

Monday, February 4, 2013


Onward through the heat......

We have been flirting with 45 in the shade off and on the last couple of weeks here in the sunny part of deepest darkest. For those of you who don't do ‘C’ 45 is 113+/-. The last few years here at the edge of the Namib, we have been blessed with exceptional rains, 750mm two years ago, over 500 last year, normal is 250 or +/- 10 inches.  We don’t ever get rain without the heat, but there are plenty of years where we get the heat and no rain.  ‘13 is shaping up to be one of those.

So here I sit in my office, aircon already on at 10am, I know full well its environmentally irresponsible of me but for @#$%sake its bloody hot.

The next installment in the Garden series is this photo of three lovely Herero ladies. They walked into my studio a few weeks ago while taking a break from a funeral here. Unlike the Western world where funerals are generally a succinct affair, here they can go on for days and rarely will stretch more than a week.  With the rampaging effects of HIV and AIDS here, it is not at all uncommon for someone to have a funeral to attend most weekends. In some ways this tragedy of health, has become a social event where people gather to pay their respects and to also socialize.  Unlike the West, tribal women here to not wear somber attire to the funeral, hence the colorful dresses. Which I might add are the height of Herero fashion.

In the mid-19th century with exposure to European fashion, particularly Victorian fashion Herero Women began to adopt this style and then develop it into their own unique interpretation. Prior to that, it was very coarse cloth and animal skins. It can take 10m of cloth to make one of these elaborate dresses which does not included the many layers of petticoats underneath.


Enjoy the week were ever you are……