After my photo exhibition, I promised to write a post including all of the pics and an in-depth explanation of how I shot them. I kept putting this off — I felt a bit “exhibitioned out”, and also haven’t felt much like blogging lately. But anyway, I’ve decided it’s time to stop procrastinating.
As I explained in my first exhibition post, all of the photos were taken in Jeppestown and Maboneng, an area where I go running sometimes during boxing training. The majority of the photos were taken on two streets — Fox Street, where most of the Maboneng development is, and the adjoining Macintyre Street, one of the main arteries through Jeppestown.
I took this photo above the courtyard at Arts on Main in Maboneng. If you’ve been to Arts on Main, you may have noticed a ladder going up from the stairway outside the upstairs market. There’s a bar and a lock across the ladder, making it seem as if you’re not supposed to climb it. But it’s easy to slip through the bar and climb up. I decided to give it a try one Sunday and no one stopped me.
At the top of the ladder is this strange plastic enclosure with small rectangular windows cut into it. One of the windows provides a perfect view of Main Street Life and other Maboneng buildings.
(For those of you who don’t know, Maboneng is a new community in the Jozi CBD, created by a property development company called Propertuity. Read more about Maboneng here.)
Since I discovered this area through my boxing sessions, it seemed appropriate to include a boxing photo in the exhibition. This is my coach, George, and one of his boxers. They train several times a week on the roof of the 12 Decades Hotel in Maboneng. The 12 Decades is a great place to work out, especially with the city skyline in the background. The building on the left is the Carlton Centre — the tallest office building in Africa.
Morning on Macintyre.
I’ve been fascinated by Macintyre Street since my first boxing run last summer. There’s so much happening there: schoolkids playing video games in the takeaway shop on the corner, barbers giving haircuts out of makeshift shacks, food vendors eking out a living by selling to passing workers. This photo shows how Macintyre Street feels in the morning.
At 7:00 a.m, this section of Macintyre Street appears abandoned save for the pigeons and stray passersby. But at 9:00 a.m., the security gates come up and these desolate-looking buildings transform into cheerful shops.
This is my favorite picture in the exhibition.
I shot this from the roof of a dilapidated building on Fox St. I was focusing on the men below, and didn’t notice until later that there was a woman looking down at them from her bedroom window.
The morning I took this, I had actually decided I was finished for the day and was headed back to my car with Joe, my hired bodyguard for this project. Joe stopped me and pointed across the street. “That guy wants you to take his photo,” Joe said. The guy was Sam, an informal recycler from Lesotho who lives in this abandoned building. The building is less than two blocks from Maboneng.
After taking that picture of Sam, I kept thinking about the building behind him. I had seen another guy peaking out from above and I wanted to know what was up there. A few days later, Joe and I climbed the two-story stairwell and discovered a huge roof, about half the size of a football field, covered in rubbish and recycling.
One afternoon, I was shooting photos of a bunch of boys skateboarding on Fox St. I was so consumed with the skateboarders than I hardly noticed the little boy standing on the sidelines. But he insisted that I photograph him. The more photos I took, the more he smiled. At the time, I only took the photos to humor him. In the end though, the skateboarders didn’t make my final edit but their sidekick did.
A bored saleswoman and equally bored mannequin on Macintyre St. I was drawn to their expressions, which seem oddly similar.
Another human/mannequin combo, which contrasts nicely with the image above. The shop is Black Coffee, a high-end, locally owned clothes store in Maboneng. The man is a designer/stylist named Felipe, enjoying one of the monthly Thursday evening night markets at Arts on Main.
While shooting photos in a clothing shop on Macintyre St. called City Outfitters, I got into a conversation with the shop’s owner, Abdullah Dajee. When I explained what I was doing, Abdullah suggested I go around the corner and check out the mural along Marshall St. Abdullah’s late father, Mohammed, funded this building, called the Jozi Mall, and hired a local artist to paint a mural showing what this same block looked like in 1896. The Jozi Mall is occupied by small businesses like the bakery behind those bars.
Afternoon on Fox.
Another building on Fox St., just up the street from Maboneng. I took this at the very end of my last day of shooting. It was one of those moments when everything came together perfectly.
A relatively new hotspot in Maboneng, called the Living Room. It’s a great place to watch the sun go down. This is the Sunday evening vibe in Maboneng.
Jozi. Taken from a small balcony above the Living Room. The hadeda is one of Jozi’s most distinctive birds. There’s a hadeda painted in the building in the foreground, and another hadeda flying through the air.
These 14 photos above were the centerpiece of the exhibition, but I also included 24 Instagrams, most of which were shot in Jeppestown and Maboneng as well. Here are a few.
In my previous post, I said that I prefer shooting certain scenes with Instagram rather than with my DSLR camera. This scene is a good example. I shot tons of photos of this takeaway shop with my Canon 60D, but they always came out too cluttered. The square frame of Instagram honed right in on the kids’ faces. It was the only shot that worked.
Another scene that worked only with Instagram.
I took this on the rooftop recycling center. Again, this image only works in Instagram.
A skate ramp on Fox St. in Maboneng.
Taken inside that window cut into the mural in the Jozi Mall.
A vendor at Arts on Main.
Through the fence.
I’m a wee bit obsessed with the Jozi skyline.
I hope you enjoyed this post, but I’m officially exhibitioned out now. In fact, I am so sick of this post that I’m not even going to proofread it. Please let me know if there are any typos. Good night.