#1029. A Muse…ing (photography in a Cape Town peninsula fishing village)

By Paul Perton | Uncategorized

Aug 05

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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  • JohnW says:

    One day! That was all the time i got to spend in Cape Town before heading north for a three week trip on the way to Victoria Falls. I instantly fell in love with the place. In many ways, it reminded me a lot of Vancouver. These are the kinds of places I wish I had had time to explore and photograph. Wonderful collection.

    • Ian says:

      It is a city of many contradictions and some not so hidden gems. Look forward to you visiting again in the future.

  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    I’m going to be hung for this, I know. But I’m going to say it anyway.

    This is the most imaginative and creative set of photos I have seen on this site!

    • Ian says:

      Jean Pierre , you are clearly a man of infinite taste, jokes a side thank you for you kind comment

      • Paul Perton says:

        No! Ian, this is Pete you’re taking about. He’s a sort-of Aussie and has all manner of odd opinions.

        Fortunately, most are spot on. He’s an excellent foil and I always welcome his comments.


        • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

          Wait till Nancee clocks in, and see what she has to say about these photographs! I could have waxed lyrical for pages, but this is definitely one of those “less is more” occasions, and one sentence said it all.

  • Excellent post and love the thoughts with them.

  • Sheila Belshaw says:

    I love your photography and admire greatly your creativity. This is a beautiful display of your art. Thank you so much for making it so available. Sheila Mary

  • Nancee Rostad says:

    I’m a little late to the party, but I just have to add my comment! Welcome to DearSusan, Ian. Your wonderful images are a so interesting and truly capture the color and energy of South Africa. Each image is essential to the story you are telling – one as fabulous as the next. They make me long for another journey to that beautiful country!

    • Ian says:

      Thank you Nancee , seems like i will have to submit a bill to the tourist bureau soon if I am to doing such a good job for them – Cape Town is a most welcoming city

  • philberphoto says:

    What Nancee said! Said so well, I might add. Well done, Ian, and congrats! For my part, I went only once to Cape Town, and I will forever kick myself for not having a camera at hand as I watched elderly ladies in whites and colonial hats play croquet on the immaculate lawn of the Mount Nelson hotel…

    • Ian says:

      Thank you phil, ah yes such photogenic opportunities such attire offers. The colonial days are long gone though.

    • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

      The only time I’ve ever played that game was after we partied half the night before, and I did it as an antidote to the hangover I had when I woke the next morning. Croquet is remarkably useful, in those circumstances – it’s sufficiently vicious and sadistic to get the pain of the hangover out of the system, while you cheerfully belt someone else’s ball so hard it goes off the field.

  • Paul says:

    Awesome Ian , Nice to see you posting on another medium outside Facebook.

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