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.” – PHOTO.com

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 https://www.buymeacoffee.com/JohnRobinson or PayPal.Me/jrphotographer

The Camera & Coffee Sessions

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The Camera & Coffee Sessions are an ongoing series of accessible, bite-sized one-hour Zoom.us 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 jr.photog@icloud.com 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

Eboundja by Reinout van den Bergh

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“Home to some 30 families, the small fishing village of Eboundja is in the Océan district of southern Cameroon. Its nearly 200 villagers have been living in great insecurity about their future since 2009, the year in which Cameroonian authorities destined an 18 by 12 miles coastal zone as a domaine d’utilité publique. By decree. Its purpose being the construction of a deep sea harbour. Iron ore was found deep in the Cameroonian jungle. The Chinese government will exploit this natural resource for the upcoming 30 years. The new deep sea harbour from where the iron ore will be shipped by the Chinese is located in the centre of this earmarked coastal zone. Although the harbour is 8 miles further south of Eboundja, it is the designation of domaine d’utilité publique that makes the village vulnerable to the combination of corrupt authorities and megalomaniac developers.” – All About Photo.com

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 https://www.buymeacoffee.com/JohnRobinson 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 healthengine.com.au

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 https://www.buymeacoffee.com/JohnRobinson 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

Skater Girls by Jenny Sampson

These women are my skate sisters — we are the only ones who really know what it was like to forge that path, blaze that trail, and dare to be ‘different.’ Sometimes we were celebrated for being female, but not for the reasons we may have wanted. Other times, we were ignored because we were girls and young women …Through it all, we skated and never let any of the negatives diminish the feeling we had when we jumped on our skateboards and were flying through the bowls and pools that we loved.Cindy Whitehead, ’70s pro skateboarder, 2016 Skateboard Hall of Fame inductee

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.

A Flat Tyre, Muggers and Angels…

I am 36 Kilometres into a 40 plus Bicycle Ride Through the Durban Docklands to the Beachfront and Back. The mid-winter sun had just ducked it’s round behind the Berea ridge, and I first feel the squiggly grind of a flat front tyre on tar as I stop at the Bayhead and South Coast roads intersection.

As I am walking my bike south across the intersection down South Coast Road and home in Woodlands, I am looking for a secluded, lighted space to repair my front tube. I have all the tools for the job. I have a puncture kit, inspection dish (used ice cream container) in my pannier at the back and water in my caged drinking bottle on my Giant Talon frame.

As I walk my bicycle down off the rail overpass at Bayhead and South Coast Road, the road curves to the right and the high arc lights over an entrance to a container depot are a beacon to me. I have repaired many tubes as a cyclist, and here I have light, a workspace and if this tube can be fixed and I will be able to ride away into the night.

I lower the tube valve first, into the water in my ice cream container, the telltale bubbles spew from where the valve and tube intersect. S***, this tube cannot be fixed.

The headlights of trucks bear down on me as I walk on with my ‘cycle at my side, at times I just stop and lean away as trucks rumble past, there is no space for me and oncoming night traffic, across the road there is a pavement. A gap in the traffic allows me to change sides.

Here it is just the bright lights of trucks in route to the harbour and the night glow of the changing shifts of workers in safety gear walking past.

South Coast Road proper is just ahead with its ladies of the night and the Woonga addicts looking for the cash for their next hit. The ladies and I have a mutual respect going from my many night ‘cycle trips through in these parts of the city, the woonga addicts are another thing entirely.

I pass a parked truck on its traffic side, the pavement side is a bit long and dark, as a nightwalker/cyclist I try to make myself a hard target for anyone who has unsociable outcomes in mind. I am now walking on the road as the two young men come out of the shadows I have just detoured from while walking on the traffic side of the truck just now.

“You have nothing to fear here, you cycle past here during the day, you are one of the community” I carry on my way as they keep up with me on the pavement in the bright beam of my bicycle headlight and the soft glow of my iPhone in its pouch fixed to the bike.

“What is that there?” The tall one of my two new friends asks as he notices the glow off my mobile phone, I reply that he actually doesn’t see anything there. I press my hip up against the ‘phone pouch as I get in the way of Number Two as he tries to wrest my phone away from me. Number One threatens to poke me with a knife that I have yet to see in his hands. “I am going to poke you, I am going to poke you with a knife”

I do not care what Number One says about giving me a poke with a knife, my eyes are glued to the hand in his pocket where the said knife is supposed to be. Number Two is having trouble trying to get hold of my phone that is still firmly in its pouch, my hip is still blocking his way. I keep my firm grip on the bike, My headlight comes out of its holder in our joint scuffle and hangs by the cord that is for this very purpose.

The momentary sense of ‘being mugged’ is quickly replaced by a deep awareness of the situation around Number One’s hand in his pocket, of my close surrounds and a sense of my own physical strength and resistance to the endeavours of Number One and Number Two on this dark Durban road.

A voice calls out to the two parras, (Short for parasites, South African slang for street criminals) “Get away from him.” My guardian looks at me through rimless glasses, he speaks English with a heavy Afrikaans undertone. “Come in here, they won’t follow you in.” Number One and Number Two spring away from me and tumble over themselves into the night. I follow my guardian into the truck washing depot where he works and away from the spot where Number One and Number Two went empty-handed.

In the seclusion of the washing depot, I turn off my ‘phone and headlight, I want to proceed on my way home without calling any more attention to myself. My guardian and a woman who also works at the depot agree to walk with me as far as a tuck shop at the next intersection. Walking as three is better than walking alone. Patience signs to me that this is where she and my guardian stop.

South Coast Road is a dual carriageway here and walking along the centre island makes me a harder target for any others that want to take their chances with the man walking with a flat wheeled bicycle in the night. As I walk I keep a lookout over both shoulders to keep aware of what is around me. There is only one more contender on the pavement to my left but he does not come across the road to the centre island where I am walking. “…I want your bike” he says to me, I just wave back to him and carry on my way.

It is a six-kilometre walk from where I felt something wrong with my front wheel to my room in Woodlands. Apart from a few curious dogs, my walk is just a slog up the hills of this part of Durban. I have plenty of time to think about what has just happened to me.

  • Never ride without a spare tube, tools for simple bicycle repairs, a puncture kit and fruit and water for energy and hydration.
  • Always wear shoes that you can also walk in.
  • Muggers don’t have a plan b, do the unexpected. Give muggers a way out and they will take it.
  • Be calm and stay calm and focused, I don’t know when my angels will come.
  • Dogs on the roads are usually are only curious about what is coming past their territories, don’t take their barking personally.
  • It is always easier to ride up a hill then walk up the same.

 

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