Nowhere To Fish

Photos John Robinson

South Africa’s second quarter 2010 unemployment rate is 25.3%, The government promotes the production of food gardens, the transfer of skills, and is encouraging the development of small scale farmers. The burden of putting food in the mouths of its people is an issue that is not going away any time soon.

Yet, The City of Durban has restricted the access of fishermen to deep water piers along it’s beach front, and the Durban Port authorities have restricted access to the water in and around the port. Durban’s subsistence fishermen have fished both these waters for generations, these people have an inconsistent income at best and it has been the skills passed down from their grandfathers that has consistently put food on their tables. 

The city is promoting the city as a tourist venue of choice, it seems that the fishermen do not fit into this profile, and the port authorities talk of security risks and the national key point act.

These people are not recreational fishermen that go out on the weekends for a bit of stress relief. These fishermen will be found making ends meet every day and night depending on the conditions of the sea.

The subsistence fishermen realise that the sea is the source of their lively hood, they pay their fishing licences, they understand the sea and teach the younger men that to protect the piers is to ensure their future.

The economic woes of South Africa will not just end, “fishing is the only thing left”  says Fog who has put his kids through school with his fishing skills. The access to viable fishing piers is not being resolved, meetings are arraigned between the fishermen and the authorities, and still the authorities do not come. 

The hunger will not go away and because of this the fishermen will find a way to continue catching their fish where ever they are able. 

12 years have past and still Durban’s subsistence fishermen battle to access good fishing waters around Durban.

If you like what you have seen and read here, you can always buy me a $3.00 coffee at or PayPal.Me/jrphotographer

Tariq Zaidi: Sapeurs

Ntsimba Marie Jeanne, 52-year-old businesswoman and sapeuse for 20 years, Okili Nkoressa, 10-year-old school student and sapeur for 5 years, and Judith Nkoressa, 39-year-old policewoman and sapeuse for 18 years, in Brazzaville, 2017 Photo Tariq Zaidi

Tariq Zaidi is a freelance photographer based out of London, UK. In 2014, he gave up an executive management position to pursue his passion of capturing the dignity, strength and soul of people, within their environment. He is a self-taught photographer with an MSc from University College London. His photography focuses on documenting social issues, inequality, traditions and endangered communities around the world. – All About

In Honour of International Peace Week


Photo Senlis Margaux

“In honor of the International Day of Peace and Peace Week, Lenscratch has partnered with the National Center for Civil and Human Rights to feature photographic projects highlighting the lasting impacts of war, conflict, and displacement. Lauren Tate Baeza, Director of Exhibitions at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, is our guest editor.

Since 1981, the International Day of Peace has been observed annually on September 21st. Declared a day of nonviolence and cessation, the UN General Assembly unanimously voted for a holiday to increase public awareness of the perils of war and encourage educational programming on topics related to peace. With a pressing need to pool resources to combat the COVID-19 global health crisis, 2020 carries an added sense of urgency for conflict resolution.”


Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, Paris (France): September 8 to October 18, 2020

“Gregory Halpern (b. 1977 in Buffalo, NY, USA) is the fourth laureate of Immersion, a French-American Photography Commission. Launched in 2014 by the Fondation d’entreprise Hermès, Immersion celebrates the work of contemporary photographers through residencies, exhibitions and publications.

As part of a three-year partnership with the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson in Paris and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), Immersion invites each laureate to present a solo exhibition at the outcome of his or her residency, at both of these institutions. The exhibitions are accompanied by a bilingual photo book in English and French.

From September 8 to October 18, 2020 at the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, and in 2022 at SFMOMA, Gregory Halpern’s exhibition Soleil cou coupé (Let the Sun Beheaded Be) presents an ensemble of photographs taken during his 2019 residency in Guadeloupe. Guided by his personal curiosity, the island’s rich diversity and its vernacular culture, Halpern’s images embrace and develop the Caribbean Surrealism of Martinican writer Aimé Césaire (1913-2008), from whose work the exhibition’s title is borrowed.” –

Re-Edit: Praying, Hands, a Gun at a Church Tent Meeting

Photos John Robinson

Tented revival meetings are a staple of the worldwide Christian evangelical movement. Amid the fears of general collapse on the eve of the year 2000, many churches in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa gathered together to see the new year in whatever it held for them…

If you like what you have seen and read here, you can always buy me a $3.00 coffee at or PayPal.Me/jrphotographer

The Camera & Coffee Sessions


The Camera & Coffee Sessions are an ongoing series of accessible, bite-sized one-hour photography lessons hosted by John Robinson. John Robinson has a passion and a long history in telling stories through still photography and photography teaching. John Robinson can be contacted on or +27836547789.

  1. Photographic Basics
  2. Depth of Field and Capturing Movement
  3. Working with Light
  4. Visual Devices in Photography
  5. The Camera in the World
  6. Small Cameras
  7. Shooting into the Light
  8. Framing the Moment
  9. Inside my Camera Bag
  10. The Camera that is in Your Hands
  11. About Editing
  12. But is it Art? A history of telling stories through photography.
  13. Fundamentals of Portraiture
  14. Connecting with the Subject
  15. Photographic Perception
  16. Photography versus Videography
  17. JPG, DNG, RAW Files in Photographic Workflow
  18. Aspects of Photographic Reality

Each session costs USD 20.00 and can be paid for through my Pay Pal account at PayPal.Me/jrphotographer

The Plastic Pickers of New England Road Landfill Site

Photos John Robinson

At the New England Road landfill site in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa the plastic pikers continue to pick up things of value in a landscape dominated by a sea of plastic waste.

Through the smog and dust of the New England Road landfill site city waste department trucks are followed around by some of the city’s informal waste recyclers on the landfill site you can ask any of these people that days gold, aluminium or going mild steel price, these people will tell you what it is. These people are here for a purpose and that is to put something to eat in the mouths of families living in informal settlements in the area.

Our thirst for plastic is seen in each step I make through the waves of incoming plastic and other waste that these people pick through for value on this site. Plastic wrappers, foil snack packets that did not make the grade at some fried food maker in the city, spoiled food soft underfoot in yet more plastic and wet in the soft rain and pungent in the heat of the day just after.

Day in and day out the plastic pickers come to sift through what others did not want. Young women that in another’s life could be beauty queens but in this life are pickers of someone else’s house waste and plastic wrappers. A young man who still wears his school passing out shirt with the good wishes from classmates across his back only to wind up on one of life’s literal dump sites. Others take refuge in the inhaling of the sweet smoke of a local cannabis variety.

The New England Road landfill site landfill has a history of mismanagement. The toxic mix of plastic, domestic waste, cardboard, old computer parts burnt for four days from 20 July 2020 engulfing the city of the origin of all this waste in a toxic cloud for days.

If you like what you have seen and read here, you can always buy me a $3.00 coffee at or PayPal.Me/jrphotographer

Re-Edit: Ghraham B, Being HIV Positive

Photos John Robinson

Antiretrovirals or ARVs only became available in South Africa in early 2004. These drugs are the cornerstone of modern HIV and AIDS management… ARVs have been consistently proven to reduce death due to HIV/AIDS and to reduce the development of AIDS-defining conditions. These AIDS-defining conditions are a range of infections, cancers and illnesses that can occur due to advanced stages of HIV infection. – Courtesy of

In 2001, Ghraham B and many other HIV+ people in South Africa did not have access to Antiretroviral drugs to manage his condition. Instead, Ghraham B used his job as a hairdresser, ballroom dancing lessons with a dance partner, meditation and stress relief techniques in a support group for HIV+ people meeting at a Johannesburg shul. Ghraham B also used alternative remedies for his condition.

In 2020 we have COVID-19. COVID-19 is a respiratory illness caused by a virus that we will most likely have a working vaccine for in early 2021. In a time obsessed with COVID-19, we must remember that ARVs have just made AIDS a chronic illness, with ARVs you can expect to have a prolonged life. Before ARVs, this was just not the case…

The first case of HIV infection was in Kinshasa Congo in 1959, as yet there is currently no cure nor vaccine available for HIV.

If you like what you have seen and read here, you can always buy me a $3.00 coffee at or PayPal.Me/jrphotographer


Jesus Actions v Jesus Slogans

“The writer James Baldwin stated in 1962, ‘It is, alas, the truth that to be an American writer today means mounting an unending attack on all that Americans believe themselves to hold sacred.’

It is the truth that to be a person of faith in America today is to recognize that America desires Jesus slogans over morally grounded Jesus-inspired action.

America as a nation stands on the precipice of what Rev. William Barber II refers to as “the third reconstruction,” a moment in history when the zeitgeist of the nation clashes with the myth of our history. The nationwide unrest, witnessed from Maine to California, is part of America’s reckoning with a lie this nation has refused to acknowledge. As a nation, racialized thinking and white supremacy is part of not only our history but saturates all of our institutions. I will not bore you with historical details, but scholars such as Michelle Alexander, Ibram X. Kendi, Carol Anderson, and Richard Rothstein make the case powerfully that America has a spiritual malady supported by institutions that either aggressively promotes these ideals or willfully ignore their reality. Our national reckoning and possible reconstruction rest at the epicentre of this myth many today courageously seek to exorcise from our body politic.

Portland and cities such as Chicago, where I live, work and serve, offer an additional challenge to people who want to be free of the lie that comes with loving whiteness over ethnicity and power over democracy.” – Otis Moss III

Fight Club, MMA fighting…

Photos John Robinson

Fight Club, 11 May 2003, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa
High kicks and punches smack into bodies as these fighters compete.
The seconds shout instructions to their fighters.
The fancy outfits that clothed their men on that walk from the change rooms count for nought once the fight begins.
Only hard kicks, punches and submissions will stop the other man.
The meek might gain the world, but in here only the hardest man will get the purse.