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It's taken a little while but I'm so pleased to finally put together some images from this photo shoot where I met with my most favourite teacher for the first time in well over 30 years. We met her wonderful family on a cool autumn morning in the woods, while my children and her grandchildren played and foraged in the forest. It was so good to catchup with this special teacher from my childhood that I was very lucky to have. She has the rare ability to make everyone in her class feel special and valued. For me the year spent in her class was a refuge from what was a dreary, dull and mostly unhappy school career. It is no surprise that she has kept in contact with so many of her past students. Meeting her now as a mother I am amazed at how she appeared to effortlessly raise 3 boys and teach us all at the same time. It's funny how your perspective on life changes through your experience of it.
My children came along that morning. As one of her grandchildren is very camera shy, the plan was to distract them and it worked. They didn't bat an eyelid at the crazy lady with the big camera. I was secretly very proud of my daughter, as she played with the two younger children. Almost without asking she knew where the best patches of light were and directed their games towards them. It was a wonderful feeling to have my firstborn with me on a shoot as a secret ally. I couldn't help but feel immensely proud of my little photographer’s daughter. I should bring her along to my shoots more often. The only difficulty came later when I needed to edit my two children out of the family portraits!
Here a few images of the last shoot of 2016, taken a few days shy of Christmas. It was on the beach in my home town, Durban. A dream location for sure, despite the wind and the odd spot of rain on my lens which was covered in thick sea spray after about 30 seconds! It’s funny how every shoot has it’s unique challenges and this shoot was no different. I learn something new every time. (In this case, wipe lens constantly when on a super windy beach!) I was lucky enough to photograph a Christmas reunion for this beautiful extended Durban family. It’s such a wonderful idea to capture the whole family in a brief moment in time. I feel like a cheesy salesman saying this, but really it is priceless.
Often I catch myself as the word ‘home’ slips off my tongue. I have not lived in Durban for over 10 years now, and the term confuses some people. Technically it is no longer my ‘home’ at all. This is the place filled with memories that whisper to me from the moment the aeroplane hits the tarmac. To say that I miss this colourful tropical city and the ocean is an understatement. I love the collective sigh that settles over the city in the evening, as the warm Berea breeze washes away the busy heat of the day. I love watching the endless stream of container ships on the horizon travelling to far away places. I love the slow shushing of the sea, and how it instantly calms me. I love how the sound of lone cars in the evening ricochets across long colonial veranda’s, around the high ceilings and back down to uneven, lovingly well worn wooden floors. I love the light, the lush green tropical bush. It’s the sound and sights of my childhood. A bitter sweet return filled wth memories and longing. Not only do I miss the place, but I miss people who are no longer with us. In a sense the place I miss is no longer really there. Instead it is the place I return to in my dreams.