Ian Varkevisser is a Cape Town-based photographer I came into contact with through the Cape of Storms Facebook page. Marooned in London, I follow Ian’s work through that medium.
In mythology the muses were nine goddesses who symbolized the arts and sciences. Throughout the ages creative artists have taken muses and found inspiration in them. I am not here to discuss whether photography falls in the category of creative art or not I leave that up to the purists and philosphers to decide.
Voted by Forbes as the coolest neighbourhood in the world as recently as 2018 , it is not difficult to understand how she can enthral you and become the focus of creativity, how you can easily end up in a friendly infatuation with her , constantly having to revisit her. She provides that focus around which one can consistently create images and dreams.
You will find her at the southernmost tip of Africa on a small peninsula, lazing next to the seaside singing her siren songs to lure unsuspecting photographers.
She can be serene , peaceful and sophisticated after sunset.
In the daytime you may need to keep her at a distance as she vents her fury.
She is both thrilling and exciting in the manner in which she lures you towards danger.
She can be reflective and turn you upside down at the same time.
After dark she can beckon you with her bright lights and she can be very hard to pin down.
You can find her ghostly and mysterious in the mornings.
She can be bountiful in her giving.
Some mornings you may wake up and look out of your window, quickly throw clothes over your pajamas and rush to be with her, and she delivers nothing. As you turn to leave her she can teasingly put on her best finery behind your back and as you turn to bid her farewell you see her dressed in stunning attire waving you goodbye.
At the drop of a hat she can go off tilt.
The next minute she can thrill you and give you the shakes.
She can be fiery and temperamental and make you burn with desire.
Or after a day in the sun she can stretch out her languid body and entice you down to her level.
She is quirky, kitschy, bohemian and and even off colour at times.
She may be high maintenance every now and then.
Or even downright trashy in that sort of way.
But this is a photography blog I hear you say – what of ISO , apertures , exposures , camera makes , types and filters. Well she is all of those things and none of those things. To reduce her to mere numbers is to strip her of her fascinating beauty and seductive inspiration. Don’t bother to interrogate me on them. Gear is merely incidental in the art of photography. Of more importance is your relationship to your subject.
That she is equally photogenic and alluring with a point and shoot , a crop sensor or full frame beast is as far as I will go technically.
Kalk Bay is a traditional bohemian fishing village on the Southern Peninsula of Cape Town.
The author is a keen street photographer of limited years experience, who has an interest in local seascape photography.
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