A few weeks ago I was wandering the colorful streets of Woodstock, one of the oldest suburbs of Cape Town, amazed by the impressive street art featured on many of the neighborhood brick walls. Woodstock has a somewhat unkept, semi-industrial vibe – at least if you move a few streets west of the nouveau hip and trendy Old Biscuit Mill area. It’s also home to a very diverse community of local residents – who are proud to accommodate the occasional visitor admiring their many unique and artistic facades.
I was there to shoot some images with the beautiful and talented Elzanne Crause, a successful Cape Town dancer who has recently performed at both Cape Dance Company and Joburg Ballet. We both thought it would be an interesting idea to augment the signature wall art of the “Stocks” area with some of Elzanne’s dance moves – essentially using the wall art as a backdrop and as something to interact with. Anyway – we had a couple of hours at our disposal for the experiment. My Elinchrom flash had taken an unfortunate dive into the ocean waters earlier that day (don’t ask) and was therefore out of commission – so I was delighted to find that the setting afternoon sun was cooperating and providing us with beautiful directional light.
Usually I’m not a big fan of putting people in front of graffiti walls – both because it’s a bit of a cliche and because I find that graffiti tends to overpower the person with its rather overwhelming amount of colors and text. However – the street art in Woodstock is not what I would characterize as graffiti. These are all paintings that would otherwise belong on the walls of an art museum. Each of the street paintings represent a separate theme, a style and a look – and consequently it becomes less of a distraction to the human form. Also – it takes much more than a slightly busy background to overshadow a brilliant dancer such as Elzanne!
Here’s a few of the images that came out of our joint efforts. (clicking on any one of the images will take you to the gallery – which might give a better view)