THE INTER PRAYER ROOM, DENIS HURLEY CENTRE

“If you are foreigner man living in Durban this program is gonna help you to improve your health and to prevent some kinds of diseases which can lead you to early death…”

The late winter sun and the hustling of taxis filter through the window to my back, I know Dr Emmanuel Tshimanga as a Congolese parking attendant at Davenport Shopping Centre here in Durban, South Africa. The Emmanuel in front of me here glows with some sort of inner light, he has such piercing eyes, doing now what has been bubbling up within him, trained as a doctor in the DRC and now just waiting for his South African Health Council number, he is here advising fellow foreign men on how to cope with their health.

The tall standing figure of Dr Tshimanga flows without effort between French, kiSwahili and English using voice, eyes and hands to get the 3 men on my right up to speed on the subject of stress.

I will come back for pictures when I have consent from the Director and of all in this room. For now I am just seeing my friend in a new light.

I now have some European editors in waiting for my proposed inner Durban City stories…

But without connection and trust these sort of stories will never touch down on sensor or film as still to be decided, so today is about connecting with a friend and building a trust for tomorrow…

 

 

 

…PHOTOGRAPHY A MIDDLE BROW ART

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A worker pauses from clearing graves for a smoke.

As JP Sudre states in Photography A middle-brow Art. “The subject that I photograph is ephemeral… photography alone captures a precise moment… which disappears and which cannot be brought back to life, hence my distress and also the essential originality of my profession. What could be more transient then a facial expression? Within these words of Sudre lies the importance of the cameras we as photographers use. Alongside the importance of the ephemeral moments that photography alone can capture, revisting the technology inherent in the camera systems that we use, as photographers trying to capture these moments, is of great importance too. I as a photographer use a ‘M6 rangefinder camera for important personal projects when possible.

IN EKUTHULENI TRANSIT CAMP

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Ekuthuleni Transit Camp in Durban, South Africa sits on a slope in T Section of Umlazi, it is next to a grave yard, above a sewage processing plant and just underneath high tension power lines and in the words of Bheki Mngadi a resident of the transit camp “there is an uneasiness to this place” – John Robinson

FAMILY PORTRAITURE…

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ROANNE TRIGG, Photo John Robinson

Portraiture has been at the heart of photography from the start. A good portrait is much more then a likeness of someone, a good portrait tells something about the subject, like the importance of family for Roanne Trigg in the above photograph. To do this the photographer and subject need a base of trust and to connect first, only then the spirit might come through the lens and touch down the sensor and then only for a micro second… John Robinson

BANELE KHOSA @ LOOKING FOR LOVE, DAG, SOUTH AFRICA…

photos John Robinson.

Award winning painter Banele Khosa stands with his acrylic and ink on canvas art work I am sorry I doubted you in the Durban Art Gallery. 21 May 2019, Durban, South Africa.

PRAVIN GORDHAN @ VIVO RESTAURANT

Vivo Restaurant Umhlanga proudly hosts a Business Dinner with key note speakers: Pravin Gordhan, Sihle Zikalala and Fawzia Peer. – John Robinson

FREEDOM DAY WALK, DURBAN

On 27 April 2019 people across Durban celebrated 25 years of democratic freedom in South Africa with a walk on the beach front stopping for prayer, praise, declarations and an open air communion service on the sand. The walk was finished off with collecting litter off the beach. – John Robinson

THOUGHTS WHILE WATCHING THE GOOD DOCTOR SEASON ONE

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I know of a family who’s daughter bounced out of a coma after massive brain trauma.

She will do somethings a little different now and other things way better then those around her; and to her parents I say not all is lost and much is gained too.

The Good Doctor is a television series about a gifted young surgeon in a hospital who also happens to be autistic. While the surgeon in The Good Doctor is a surgeon way above par, he battles to cope with social skills, obsesses about things and gets visibly upset because the handy man in the building where he lives fixes something that was not on his “to fix list”.

I cheer, laugh out loud and cry while watching The Good Doctor. The producers of the show have captured realities of post brain injury life. The presence of being a bit weird to others, not always having the word you really wanted and knowing that my left hand likes to do the funky without telling me first. On the other hand being so focused and perceptive now that I feel that my photography is enhanced and that the pictures I now take are some of the best and better then before I had my stroke in 2012.

I don’t want other’s pity, I am comfortable in my skin now as I now know the new me and am leaving that somewhat arrogant person in the past; there is no reversing option after coming around after a stroke in a hospital bed. There is no going back after brain injury, you have got what you have now got, like wetting my hospital bed ’cause my muscle control had to be still relearned. With time you realise that you have got more then first realised too. Rather then your pity I always like a bit of space when my brain is ‘rebooting’; often you won’t even realise that I am in pause mode as it only takes about 20 seconds and I am a master at masking when it happens in public.

While in that hospital bed I talked with a doctor doing her rounds “ma’am, people are supposed to die from strokes”. The doctor just said “yes”. A stroke is devastating. As devastating as it has been, my stroke has also proved to me a life changing event too. I live consciously now, every day, each day, I smell, see things as never before and I am stronger in mind and body then ever before.

I am shit awful at religion and in that class I am bad Johnny at the back, but I sense a greater being, I so believe. I believe in a God that let his son die a public death in Palestine and loves me more then any parent loves their child. Belief is different to religion, it’s not like a brittle dead stick, it has flex and it is so strong.

I really like my whole self now with all the quirks and yes my favourite colour is magenta. A friend who knew me pre stroke said that I seem different “you are more tender now, I recognise you as John but you have changed”. My CT scan report includes the following; “A large wedge shaped hypo density involving the grey and white matter is noted in the right frontal region with involvement of the insular region and the right basal ganglia… in keeping with right chronic MCA territory infarct”. I am not medically trained and I do not know what my right frontal region does or does not do now, but I do know about living in my body post stroke. I find other words when the ‘right’ word is not there anymore. Day to day I have slight fine motor skill loss in my left hand, a very slight weakness in my left lower leg and foot. I find that eating with my right hand is easier, riding a bicycle is better then walking long distances and living as though each day is a gift as I could have been already dead as the lady doctor said.

I would not like to back track anymore if it were even possible, I am now accepting of my self and I am a lot more accepting of others too. Though I cope much better when in a congruent situation be that my home office or on a bicycle rush hour traffic and I am so much more perceptive now.

I would not wish a stroke on anyone, but my brain injury has come to me as a bit of a gift in disguise and life is short enough as it is to not take hold of what is. – John Robinson

 

SKATE PARK GENTS

Photos John Robinson

Durban is also a skate board riding city, it’s not just about poison. The skate board park on the beach front is a place where anyone can come. Skate Board Gents is an ongoing personal project by johnrobinson narrative photographer & craftsman. “As I portray a gent I am introduced to another” – JR