Street Portraiture | Obs Fest | Cape Town

Long before wedding photography was a part of our lives and even longer before photography was a job, the streets were where we spent our days wandering with a camera. Many of those days were spent with my good friend Otto Schulze and they are days I miss dearly. If you have never walked the streets in search of pictures then you have missed out on something very special. Grab your camera and go. Now.

Often you have no idea what you are looking for so you walk and you just look. Sometimes for ages but eventually that moment does come, where you are pulled towards someone for a reason you might only figure out on the way up to them. It might be the way they are dressed. A look on their face. Sometimes it isn't even at all clear why you are drawn to this stranger in the street, but it is already happening. You just have to go with it. There is always a moment of uncertainty, a period where you aren't sure what will come of this conversation. Most often they say yes. Sometimes they don't. Either way street photography forces you into interactions you might never have - all for a picture.

This weekend saw the coming of the annual Obs Fest in our little village of Observatory in Cape Town. Spun as an arts festival it's really a music festival on the streets of this well known arts and culture hub. We were dreading it. Apparently 15,000 party people descended on Obs last year and partied in the streets till stupid o'clock. Our house is inside the festival road closure zone so we imagined the chaos that might go on outside our door. We had planned to take the dogs and leave the city for the weekend but in the end the festival turned out to be a major disappointment. It could barely be called a festival in fact. Charging R70 entrance for a day was one reason it seemed the people stayed away. Bad organization seemed to be another. Either way we were relieved.

Obs village was a ghost town. You could walk down the middle of most of the streets where cars might normally be. Although it was a really low turnout there was still a great mix of people out on the streets. A few real characters too. Obs is known for this mix of hippies, artists, students and professionals and even its own local chapter of Nigerian gangsters. Everyone gets on fine. Strange as it is.

The following pictures are from two hours on the streets of Obs Fest and the first street portraits I have shot in probably five years. Thanks to everyone of the strangers that said yes. You made my weekend.

The Streets - oh how I have missed you.


1 comment:

  1. great to see some personal work. love the images. i'm moving to London in the new year and loving the thought of getting out into the city and taking some pictures.