Although we now live in Stanford in the Cape Overberg, I was born in Rehoboth, Namibia in 1954 and went to school in Upington in the Northern Cape, Windhoek in Namibia and Cape Town. After studying music, with singing and piano as main subjects, at the University of Stellenbosch, I also later did licenciates in singing through the Unversity of South Africa and the Royal College of Music, London. Thereafter I taught music, history, geography and English at various high schools in South Africa and Namibia, was an organist at various churches, and am also an experienced genealogical researcher (been doing it now for ± 40 years). In between I had my own restaurants, did dressmaking, and from 1997 worked as lay preacher and also evangelist amongst the farm labourers in the Stanford area for six years.
In our family much time was spent listening to the stories told by the elders – our grandparents, uncles and aunts, our parents themselves! I have been fascinated with the oral tradition and loved listening to stories since I was small and have many fond memories of our evenings around the supper table. Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlev saying has often been quoted: “God made man because he loves stories.” I also love what Barry Lopez said in Crow and Weasel: If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive.
To me photography and especially that of people, one of my passions, is also “making music” and “telling stories”. Only the instrument through which it is done, differs. I received my first lessons from my father, a keen photographer and artist, who gave me my first camera, an Agfa, when I was eight or nine. Many years later, in 1992, I upgraded to a Pentax SLR film camera. After meeting and marrying Maré Mouton, an experienced graphic designer and photographer, in 2003, we started producing the magazine Village Life. That and digital cameras have allowed me to revive my latent interest in photography, this time with constructive criticism and guidelines from Maré who had worked in journalism, graphic design, photography and public relations in South Africa and Namibia. He was involved in the design of a number of newspapers and magazines, including doing the original handlettering for the masthead of the Johannesburg daily Beeld in 1974 (still used today). From 1989 to 2001 he ran his own graphic design and advertising studio in Cape Town, serving corporate clients such as Metropolitan Life, KWV, Naspers, Pepkor, Trencor, US Business School and Taylor Window Blinds.
I prefer to work with only available light and believe that a photograph should be made when it is taken, not later on a computer.
I have three adult children, Thys, Annelize and Johannes, and a granddaughter, Kara. Maré and I, with our cat, Missy, and our dog, Kerneels, live in a house overlooking the vlei in Stanford where we garden for birds, butterflies and (very) small wildlife.
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