A story of two beginnings


These two photographs were taken 31 years apart, the first on 7 August 1986 and the second 18 August 2017, in the same town and physically about 600m apart.

What is the significance of this?

The first image, of Johnny Clegg, was probably the first photo of a musician that I took that I was excited by (I know it has issues but let’s forget that for now). I had tried a few concerts before but the images really weren’t any good.

This was the image that brought together my love of music and my love of photography and launched a personal music photography journey that I’m still on.

I was a student at Rhodes University in Grahamstown at the time and Johnny Clegg came to play with Savuka at the the 1820 Settlers National Monument. I still have the album Third World Child that he autographed to me after the concert.

It is also a poignant image right now as Johnny Clegg has just (2017/18) said goodbye to his many fans with his The Final Journey tour. (Fortunately I’m much younger than Johnny Clegg!)

The second photograph is of a Cape Weaver, Ploceus capensis, building a nest in a tree outside my office in the School of Journalism and Media Studies at Rhodes University, where I teach students when I am not taking photographs. It is about 600m (as the weaver bird flies) from the Monument building where the first image was taken.

It is also a significant image to me. In 2017 I decided to combine my interests in birds and photography in a new personal photography journey. Somehow I just never really brought the two together before. Of course I have photographed some birds before but not with the same intentional energy that I am now. This photo of the Cape Weaver marks a new starting point.

In between the taking of these two images I left Grahamstown. I have lived in numerous places on two continents and worked as a photojournalist, corporate journalist, publication designer, print-finisher, sub-editor, lecturer, and commercial photographer.

One constant that has remained throughout is my fascination with the photographic image and the joy that ‘geting it right’ brings to me and others.

When I started putting this new website together (my fourth and the third incarnation of haroldgess.com), I decided to start out with these two galleries: musicians and birds. More galleries will follow.


2 Replies to “A story of two beginnings”

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