You are invited to a solo exhibition of 20 plus portraits of people on Durban’s South Beach by John Robinson that runs for four weeks at artSPACE durban. SOUTH BEACH runs from 19 January 2015 to 14 February 2015 at 3 Millar Street Durban, South Africa.
I have just taken a step away from my FB page. On FaceBook, among the sprinkling of news and actual pictures from actual lives of actual family and friends, we face down a visual storm of visual, audio and textual noise, clatter that I am thinking that I will be better off without…
I live in a world, one that is brimming with competing media of which a large % is visual clutter. As a social doc photographer I take care with moments, when I release the cloth shutter it is with a singular moment in mind, one that I wish to share or represent as a photograph – A moment that needs another moment, one uncluttered by noise to be fully realised.
I will for my part ‘share’ only from my own actual life, and ‘course less space for noise in our collective lives. It has become so easy to snap n share but it is not so easy to realise. The difficulty is no longer in the developing of the photographic image but in finding the space just to ingest these ‘moments’ thrust upon us all…
And hope that in turn I gain more moments for these photographic moments of my own.
Jika Joe is an informal settlement in the heart of the city of Pietermaritzburg. The people in this community built their homes here to be close to jobs in the city.
The area has been plagued with fires that jump from house to house. These fires have forced some people to live in tents on a local sports field.
The ANC led City of Pietermaritzburg has provided prefab temporary housing units alongside the homes that the community built, the city’s plan is to remove the community from the area and one day move the people to formal housing that will be far from these peoples jobs.
I am now working on the the final touches to my latest social documentary photography project – Jika Joe – I will upload images shortly… JR
Jika Joe is a shanty town in the middle of the City of Pietermaritzburg in South Africa, it is a place of narrow pathways between homes that butt up against one another, people live here to be close to their places of work. The city fathers would prefer that they lived else where but these people can’t afford the bus fares that move would involve.
Castle is a brand of beer that is widely sold in the shabeens (bars) of the area, children of Jika Joe make extra money collecting the empty bottles left in the pathways and returning them for the deposit offered by the brewery for them.
The shoe on the child’s foot was not top most on my mind when I took these images but a few weeks later when I leveled and contrasted the image they were topmost in regards to the construction of this photograph. At the time of shooting in Jika Joe I was more involved with capturing moments, the moment at the time was just a child in a shanty town delivering empty beer bottles… – In a sober moment long after the hype of the shot moment has passed the dawning of the significance of the adult shoes that this child fills arises for me.
John Robinson is a social documentary photographer and stroke survivor living in South Africa, these are his own words and images.
South Beach is a part of the City of Durban’s longest uninterrupted stretch of beach sand. The City of Durban is on the eastern seaboard of South Africa and the people here are washed with the warm waters of the Indian Ocean. To the north of this stretch of sand are beaches with cafe society hang outs. To the south there is a pier with the upmarket Moyo’s Restaurant at it’s end and the uShaka Marine World complex and the private surf and sea clubs of the Vetches Beach area. Between these northern and southern affluent areas lies this long uninterrupted and relatively undeveloped stretch of beach sand. It’s along this beach that some of the ‘scatterlings’ of Africa come to be alone, sleep, pray, walk, swim, surf, work, commune with another, or just the sea sand and water.
On this uninterrupted length of beach I am alone with my thoughts, with just a few sea gulls for company. It takes me over an hour to walk its length and when I walk along the sands, these are some of the many people who have also taken some time out of their day for the same:
A pistol packing pastor, who’s day job is as a police man. He is on the beach to fetch holy water for the praying needs of his flock.
A surf life guard named Cat who has a dislike for crowds, when he has down time he spends it in a tent so that he is assured of his own personal space around him.
Others like two acrobats from Tanzania who are on their way to a better life in Europe somewhere, say that the beach is a good place to practice their craft and have a wash.
One man just sleeps in the dunes until another place opens up in a shelter for those who have arrived at a place where life has dealt a blow that was too hard to manage.
Another man uses a metal detector and searches for metal on the beach, he educates all who will listen on the lack of durability of modern South African coins. He showed me how quickly the sea water breaks down the alloys that our new coins are made of, and how the coinage of our fathers just lasted so much longer…
There is also a man who prays for the fact that he has a regular job, he comes out of his flat near by and prays on the beach each day.
I asked the people that I met only three questions; Where are you from. What do you do here and What do you like about this beach.
These are the people…