Having recently visited South Africa, I was reflecting on my experiences there in light of Nelson Mandela’s passing. A courageous, inspiring leader, he had an influence on a people, a country and a world. As I met the people, talked with them, broke bread with them, photographed them, Nelson Mandela had an influence on me. I came to admire his commitment to moral principles which elevate the human condition. I found, in Johannesburg, a complex and complicated city with contrasts not entirely in keeping with Nelson Mandela’s vision for how things ought to be. In other parts of the country these contrasts were even more apparent. Things are not how they should be. Yet, I also saw hope, commitment, energy and progress. I’m sure Nelson Mandela didn’t accomplish all he hoped to accomplish in his long and influential life. Yet, his vision took root. His commitment and perseverance inspired others. Nelson Mandela made a difference. South Africa made a significant impression on me well beyond the images I took.
Completed in 2003 at a price of 38 million rand, the Nelson Mandela Bridge was conceived as a means of bridging two disparate parts of Johannesburg in the hopes of revitalizing the inner city.
Jacaranda trees bloom in spectacular beauty on a residential street in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Johannesburg, South Africa is a colorful and diverse city. We stopped for a moment to capture the sunset over this neighborhood.
Powerlines traverse the horizon as a Soweto resident walks home along the dirt path leading to the Township.
Life in the township has improved, but can still be difficult. Growing crops provides an income supplement and food for a family.
Bungee jumpers and base jumpers get their adrenalin rush by leaping from the platform bridge between the Two Towers.
Johannesburg is a beautiful city. From a distance and height, the views are stunning.
Afternoon and evening storms, sometimes violent, roll in over Johannesburg, relieving the city of heat and humidity.
Johannesburg downtown business district is clean, modern and growing.
With seating for 37,500, Johannesburg stadium is home to the Orlando Pirates Football Club and the Golden Lions Rugby Union.
Johannesburg has a modern well developed infrastructure.
Alexandra Township, or Alex, is part of Johannesburg, South Africa, and is one of the poorest urban areas in the country.
As this woman crossed the bridge, I asked if I could take her picture. When I showed her the picture, she laughed and laughed. She couldn’t understand why I wanted her picture.
While economic opportunities abound in Johannesburg, the unemployment rate among blacks is astronomically high, somewhere near 32%.
They seemed like bars, the wooden frames. To keep me out or hold him in, I did not know which was more damning.
Ever present and visible on nearly every home, regardless of class, barbed wire speaks to the underlying crime and lack of security every resident of Joburg faces.
In Alex, unemployment, drugs, gangs and violence are part of the landscape of daily life. Barbed wire is one small means of protecting the children.
Water is a scarce commodity in many parts of the world. Clean water is even more precious. In Alex, dirty water is plentiful.
This building was abandoned. Now squatters take up residence as the building slowly decays.
Storm brewing over the Valley of 1,000 Hills.
The legendary tree of life thrives in Africa.
A thirsty African elephant takes a healthy drink from his own personal well.
Friendly rhinoceros grazing on the Mala Mala Game Reserve.
Leopard finishing a meal of Impala at the Mala Mala Game Reserve, South Africa.
I had one day to shoot B-Roll in Rome. And, it was my birthday. My wife surprised me by flying to Rome and meeting me at my hotel. It was a great birthday present. I still had to film but we saw the sights of Rome together.
Rome has this interesting vibe of Ancient Rome overlaid with Catholic Religiosity. The people are friendly. The city is dirty. The food is good. And the places–unbelievable–almost as unbelievable as the legend of Romulus and Remus being raised by a She-wolf. Still, it is a good story–and, a great city.
The size and scale are nearly beyond belief. So are the lines to get in.
Sunlight casts shadows through the massive pillars near the entrance to St. Peter’s Square.
Heart of Rome and Capital of the ancient World, the Roman Forum represents the glory of a once great empire fallen to ruin.
Emperor Septimus Severus wanted the glory of his victories in battle over the Parthians in AD 203 to be remembered for all time.
In the shadows of a very old Catholic Cathedral, the ghosts of Christians past linger amidst the ruins of an ancient Roman prison.
The Piazza della Rotanda gets its name from the informal title of the Pantheon which is the church of Santa Maria Rotonda.
Nearly two-thousand years after it was built, the Pantheon dome is still the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome.
One of the greatest achievements of Roman Engineering and Architecture, the Roman Colosseum is still the largest amphitheater in the world.
Completed in 1925, the National Monument to Victor Emmanuele pays tribute to the first king of a unified Italy.
Legend suggests that the chains housed in the central nave of Saint Peter in Chains church were actually used to bind the Apostle Peter when he was imprisoned in Jerusalem.
Designed by Bernini and created in 1692, the statue of Philip IV of Spain welcomes visitors to the Santa Maria Maggiore church.
Also known as the Mausoleum of Hadrian, the Castel Sant’Angelo was commissioned by the Emporeror Hadrian and was later used by the Popes as a fortress.
Statues on the bridge, Ponte Vittorio Emanuele II, look over the Tiber River as pedestrians, vehicles and boats pass by.
A restoration project underway, Trajan’s Forum reveals ancient secrets in the midst of a crowded contemporary neighborhood.
Late afternoon sun shines Heaven’s light throughout a Cathedral nave.
An Angel holds the golden crown of celestial glory above the Cathedral alter.
Residing in the Church of St. Peter in Chains, the Grim Reaper eventually visits us all.
It was my birthday. Anne surprised me by coming to Rome. We threw coins over our shoulders and kissed. We will return.