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Vrystaat: Erika & CJ.

By andreduplessis
Vrystaat Jan 09: Erika (Limited Edition) & CJ (Why, Why, Why) & Soekie the angry Dog
Please view this image in Large.

Halfway between Plettenberg Bay and Knysna (along the Garden Route in SA) there are always some informal flower sellers along the N2 motorway. They sell Proteas and other indigenous flowers picked from the virgin forests in this area.
I paid them and their settlement a visit last week, and was introduced to some other members of this community of Vrystaat by one of the village elders, William Henry Manual.
This is Erika Jenniker, her son CJ and their dog Soekie. They live in a timber house, with a caravan attached as an second bedroom. This was shot in the alley between the front door and the caravan. I asked them to kneel down, as to avoid direct sunlight.
Her husband Attie, like most of the men from their community, work in the plantations.
Apparently the name Vrystaat (translated Free State, and not to be confused with a province in SA by the same name), was decided on as a reference to the fact that they function as a self-sufficient community. Most have jobs, and they grow a fair amount of their own vegetables etc. They are devout Christians, with a little church of their own, and have no transits or 'inkomers'/outsiders - very much like Green Valley in the previous upload.

Tags: Photo journalism Black and white Portraits and people

Voters: picnic66, Grifoto, NevP and 24 more

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picnic66 14 1 New Zealand
11 Jan 2009 2:58AM
incredible that 3 faces are looking at you/camera with similar rawness.
love the lone boot showing under the caravan, kinda deep. great how you mention their names, context etc - thanks Andre.
expert capture.
Grifoto 14 United Kingdom
11 Jan 2009 3:08AM

Terrific capture, just wonderful !

NevP 17 853 13 Canada
11 Jan 2009 3:10AM
It seems that the dog is most acutely aware of the presence of outsiders...........
Nicola has mentioned some good points, the mono work is also very good. Fantastic again Andre.
Xxticy 15 1 United States
11 Jan 2009 6:16AM
Incredible capture... Really love the feel of the shot and the additional member of the family down in the lower left corner...

SPOTON 14 South Africa
11 Jan 2009 6:20AM
Hi Andre! I live in Cape Town and my parents in Port Alfred - we travel the Garden Route regularly to go and visit them and pass by these (maybe not these particular ones!) sellers each time.There is some unbelievable poverty amongst these people yet they are always obliging and friendly. I think the baby's t-shirt says is all - "why, why, why"? Great shot - well done! Love, Mandi
11 Jan 2009 6:54AM
Hi and thank you for the positive comments. Mandi - I am sure that these are the flower sellers that you have seen - I do not know of any others. Next time you travel by, look up behind them and you'll see their timber shacks clining to the steep hill side.
Yes - incredible poverty certainly, yet the ever present pride and hospitality.
Soekie the dog made this one for me. She walked in after a few frames, and her eyes never left the lens. Never stopped growling at me. So protective of her family.
VIKI 16 18 1 United Kingdom
11 Jan 2009 6:58AM
This is superb!!!!!!
LynneJoyce Plus
14 22 101 United Kingdom
11 Jan 2009 7:18AM
Excellent portait and commentary.
11 Jan 2009 7:52AM
Fantastic image.
jenquest 20 561 1 Tokelau
11 Jan 2009 8:31AM
A wonderful image with excellent eye contact. I am constantly drawn to the old boot but I don't know why. It feels sinister.
madbilly 14 1 4 England
11 Jan 2009 8:52AM
what a great shot, hope you are proud of it you should be
ToothPilot 15 50 4 United Kingdom
11 Jan 2009 10:48AM
Pity you could not capture the dogs right paw on the ground. It would have "grounded" the shot for me. All the rest is impressive as always with your images Andre.
SlowSong Plus
14 10.6k 30 England
11 Jan 2009 11:46AM
Superb shot, and just love the feisty little dog.
11 Jan 2009 7:56PM
Thanks all, and Henk - I have another frame where Soekie's legs are all in, but the boy's eye contact was lost. Would have loved to show that one, but no good.
Boyoclark 15 16 1 Wales
11 Jan 2009 8:34PM
Lovely photo Andre. I love the way the dogs expression mirrors the mother and childs! Bryan

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