A little while back we issued a call for contributors (the invitation is still open). This is the first post from a new contributor, Sfiso Maggz whom you will have heard of in one of my posts previously about Photo Walking in Johannesburg CBD. We hope you enjoy the read.
‘Do you like my new shoes?” she asked; as she confidently thrust forward her feet to give me a better view. It’s the sort of question I’m sure many a guy has had to deftfully answer to. Her beaming smile said it all… she already had a pre-determined answer that she expected me to shower upon her, in recognition of her refined fashion sense. But, I’m just not that accommodating. My blank stare gazed upon her, accompanied by the knowledge that I actually didn’t know she had new shoes on.
Apologies ladies, but shoes are just not quite my thing… they are too far down to look at. Besides, if my eyes wondered down towards those shoes, I run the risk of being accused of looking at your chest…but that’s another argument. I don’t even like my own new shoes… they are just a reminder of how enthusiastically my size 12 feet devour those marvels of foot protection and they seem to just keep getting more expensive with each replacement.
So then, it is all the more ironic that the first thing I noticed about the subject in this photo were his shoes. It had been a dull day…in all senses. Mother’s nature’s moody swing towards winter had produced another of those moody, overcast days, where all colour seemed to retreat into the recesses of the earth. I had been shooting in the bowels of Jo’burg CDB for a good three hours prior to passing him, capturing the earth consuming filth that had engulfed the city as a result of strike action by those responsible for the disposal of garbage.
I stopped right in front of him… he looked at me in the eye, and then looked at the camera hanging from my neck, before looking back at me with a somewhat uncertain expression. He was unremarkable looking, with a face one could easily forget, but there seemed to be more within him. “Kunjani?” I greeted him. Ola, he said back. A brief exchange of pleasantries followed, then I proceeded to tell him that his shoes would look great in a photo. Bemused, he reluctantly allowed me to photograph his shoes. I then showed him the photo, after which, he expressed his satisfaction in that most versatile of South African verbal expressions… “Eish!”
I proceeded along on my way towards Braamfontein, leaving the man still confused as to why I had chosen to photograph his shoes as opposed to his face. Perhaps in time, he would figure it out, but for now, the uncomfortable chill in the air made keeping his head warm a priority. I’m convinced that the day’s moody weather had chased all the colour right into this man’s laces. Lesson for the day… new shoes don’t have character.