Many years ago, like you probably will have no idea what I’m talking about (Ashton) it was so long ago… Mweb launched an advertising campaign for its Internet Solution Kit called the Big Black Box. They were advertising modems. I don’t think modems even exist anymore. [Modems were used to connect computers to the internet].

Anyway, the premise of the advert was these actors came up for inspection and if they conformed and were what everyone was looking for, they were added to the big black box. “Get the into yonder box”, was what he said when Shakespeare showed up. That phrase has stuck with me. Mainly because it was the funniest part of the advert an partly, because it describes life. Have I lost you?

We label things and we become labelled. Husband, Wife, Brother, Sister, Mother, Father, Doctor, Dentist, Maid, Accountant, Addict, Adopted, Priest, Man, Woman, Fat, Thin, Straight, Gay, Black, White, Asian, Good, Bad, Pretty, Ugly – There are millions of labels and I kind of think that each and every one of them is, well bullocks, potentially bordering on bullying.

As a kid, I was awkward, I had bright red hair, a million freckles on my sun damaged skin and was really skinny – I think I weighed about 50Kg’s when I finished high school. Easy target really. They called it teasing back then and you had to toughen up and deal with it.

You see, the label is often what’s used to describe you, but, you can be 5 things all at once without being LABELLED schizophrenic
– Watch: Husband, Brother, Son, Carer, Provider, Friend, Foe, Competitor, Lover, Fighter. I can go on. I wont. I don’t want to be defined by one word. Specifically, by some one’s perspective of what they believe I am. Ridiculous. Perhaps there is comfort in sticking a big label on something? Confining it to live forever in a box. You. Get the into yonder box. See how that works.

When it comes to photography, I feel much the same way. Wedding, Food, Fashion, Corporate, Product, Wildlife, New born, Toddler, Portrait, Maternity, Family, Lifestyle – There are all these labels. PICK YOUR BOX. Stay in that box. If you want to be great you have to play in that one box. At least, that’s what popular opinion will tell you.

Screw that. I don’t want to pick a box. I don’t want a label. No thanks. You see, I honestly believe that wedding photographers can learn from Fashion photographers and Food photographers might learn something from photographing babies, or buildings, or something so far removed from their box they wouldn’t even know where to find it. Learn. Explore. Go. But that’s just my thoughts.

The reason for this post. These images. I photographed them under the guidance of international photographers Jean Noir and Sagar Manjarres during their stay in Cape Town – These images need their own box. A safety deposit box, that’s how much I love them.

Jean & Sagar, accompanied by Andrea, hosted a two day workshop in November. We listened to their philosophy on photography and working with models and then we got down to business. Serious, blow your mind kind of business. Get in, make a connection, get your shot, get on with it kind of business.

There were moments during the shoot I felt my brain and heart may explode – I literally loved every minute of it. So I’m going to advocate, do what makes you happy. If you want to sit in a box, go for it, if you want to send the box back and tell them to keep it, do that. Your life. Your way. Boom.

Get up, Fight, Be Strong & Kind, Believe & Encourage.

Thank you Jean, Sagar & Andrea (+Willem from Sunshine Company) – These were an amazing two days. I’m excited to implement what I’ve learnt! High Fives all around.
 

If you’re keen to create something along these lines, I’m listening. Give me a shout.
 

Carolin and her long golden locks were like the Capes wind – Unstoppable. Thank the pope. These shots are crazy. Thank you Carolin, you were awesome to work with.

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Then there was Andrea. Dynamite in a small package, Andrea. She was in Cape Town mainly because she is in a relationship with Jean, so was basically on vacation. On day one, I asked her, Can we take photographs of you Andrea? (I think we all did) She laughed. And then on day 2, she signed up and literally KILLED it. On the pavement, while getting sprayed with a hosepipe, she brought her A game and blew us all away. Such a legend. Thank you Andrea for being so cool. Power. Strength & Determination.

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