Sometimes, as a photographer - or just as a person - you'll set out with the best intentions to create something and fail miserably. You'll get behind your computer, download the images and your heart will sink. All that effort, planning and time for nothing; or was it for nothing?

That "failure" is a valuable lesson. I know it never feels like it, but sorting through old photos I found one such instance - out of a deep well of failures or shall we call them; lessons? This particular one stuck with me though as it was for my series "Arguing with Myself" which I captured at a stage where I was experiencing a lot of inner turmoil and unease.

I basically had to beat my negativity and self-doubt down, tie them up, lock them in a room and swallow the key; to go out and make these photos. They weren't comfortable and I never intended for them to be anything but uncomfortable to go out and make.

Recently I wanted to recreate this painting by artist Mark Maggiori.

Do yourself a favour and click on the image to view more of his work.

Do yourself a favour and click on the image to view more of his work.

I am not sure how it happened, but I think my friend Gerhard Uys shared one of his paintings on Instagram and I was immediately drawn to it, so I got in touch with him and suggested that we should go out and make some cool photos of him as a cowboy. Editors note: Did I mention he f**king loves Cowboys?

So, eventually after months of trying to find a location, a horse and a time, that suited everyone involved we finally shot it in middle July. We all woke up really early, drove out to Hartebeespoort Dam, got the horse saddled up and drove out to the spot, set up for the shot and... I'd love to say; nailed the image, however that would be a lie.

Another shoot, another lesson learnt.

Here's the unretouched version of the failed recreation.

Here's the unretouched version of the failed recreation.

That's a pretty subpar image right? Heck, subpar is putting it kindly. It's shit. I am fully intent on going back and nailing it though. I have a different spot I want to shoot at and I think it'll work.

However, it wasn't a total waste. Right before we packed up the sun was shining through the trees to our left and lighting up the tall grass and I grabbed several portraits that I am pretty happy with and I am glad I took the time to shoot them, but the one that eluded me will be captured. Mark my words.

Thanks for reading


So it's 2014 already. It seems 2013 was a tough year for a lot of people, judging by Facebook statuses, Tweets, Instagrams and whatever social media outlet we use to "voice" our troubles.

In a lot of ways I think having a bad year can be a good thing. It can get you focused on more important things or challenge your perceptions and get you "in line" so to speak. It's not always fun - hell it's never fun - but that's how we grow and hopefully better ourselves; through those hardships.

Not to dwell on it too much, but the last couple of months of 2013 wasn't easy for me and I think that goes for pretty much anyone. Those final 2 months before your holiday, start grinding you down mentally. Especially with myself, I've noticed that; after more than a year of working from home, I felt miserable. That's my own fault though. I have a knack for isolating myself from the world and with the holidays that were coming up and knowing that I'd probably be alone on Christmas I just felt like crap.

But lo and behold, Christmas came and I actually didn't feel completely miserable. I actually felt kinda blessed. Millions of people are alone over the holidays and I felt that I needed that to put some things in perspective for myself. I think what also helped was the fact that I got to hang out with a good friend the day before and just dump some of this "darkness" I'd been carrying in my heart.

That being said, I really wanted to create a photo for my "Arguing with Myself" series of conceptual self-portraits. And I had the perfect place in mind, knowing that I would be going to my old hometown area over Christmas and that I would be alone, so there was no excuse to not go and make this photo.

The only reason why I almost didn't do it, was because I felt too calm on the inside. There wasn't this crazy inner turbulence that I had when I made the first two, but I decided to press on and do it anyway.

This is the image. I call it "Rebirth".

Rebirth (2).jpg

I love this spot. It looks out over the town where my mom now lives and is about 10 kilometers from the town where I grew up. It's pretty quiet up there and I was alone for an hour and a half before the sun was at the right angle to not completely blow out the highlights.

It's between 12 and 16 images stitched together. Four of them was just to get the sky to not be completely blown out. I'm happy with it and the reason for the title is, I think I MAYBE found some answers (or perhaps more questions) while pursuing this personal project. I think it might be a turning point - a "Rebirth" - of some sorts. It's not over yet and I'm thinking of expanding it and adding other people too, coz we're not in this alone.

Thanks for reading and Happy New Year.