News & Ideas

Out of the Ash: Fynbos, Veld fire and Fashion

My journey to work would start with a lovely 1-hour traditional Cape Town traffic jam, each morning. I would always look at the patch of road reserve that has the most beautiful fynbos and think to myself the day will come when only nature reserves around will be situated on road reserves.


A few weeks ago I drove pass it again and noticed my road reserve had been burnt. It’s a small piece of land and it won’t make any news.  I then start thinking, what might have caused the fire, it could be the sun but the temperatures were not that hot yet, I suddenly stepped on the brakes as a white sedan pops out of nowhere and it hits me. The thought hits me (luckily not the car) the veld fire could have been caused by a tossed cigarette bud from one of the vehicles driving by.


What Can I do? I must do a something but what, a photoshoot is the next logical thought, I think gold will stand out; I grab my cell and post on Facebook that I am looking for a Gold dress. Now what? I log onto Instagram and I scroll down my feed and I see a gold and blue dress, I DM and ask if the top of the dress is separate. The model replies it’s an all in one. At this point, I am thinking that sucks but not sure how my brain works; I pitch her on a not so well thought out photo shoot idea. I am expecting a polite no. The kind of no, you get when they being nice to a stranger.  She is interested. I start doing a mood board as that’s what the pros do. I get DM from my big sis (ter), she has gold fabric and says she was looking for a reason to be creative. She now wants to know what I have in mind when it come to the style, I say sexy with a low necking and leave the rest to her. I am starting to feel good in a very nervous way.


A few days go past and I visit my mom who’s living room is literally a boutique but I am visiting my mom and gold dresses are not on my mind at all. As soon as I walk in my mom says, so I hear you looking for a Golden dress and point to a mannequin in the corner by the window.


I am in love with this dress it has two huge holes on the side and another idea is sparked. I need to contact Frankie. A girl at whose parents house I partied at; whilst her parents were on holiday in my youth.  Backtrack about two months ago ran into Frankie at Artscape Theater and we briefly spoke, something like Hi, Hi, In a hurry, I love your work, we should collaborate.


At this point, I am like I have the making of a proper shoot. Fast forward to the shoot and everyone is looking at me, I ask two male photographers to assist me, only one pitched but he is a gift from God he brings his full gear and girlfriend who is also a photographer we head to my private nature reserve and I am nervous now this is becoming so real. A million things go through my head I am not sure what I am more afraid of, is it the possibility of getting robbed, law enforcement asking us to leave or that I am not ready for this.


I am also not sure what everyone is thinking, are they still feeling my concept and the location, I am not sure at this point. I am also hoping the wind would calm down and second guessing if we should stop. The team says let’s do this. We start shooting and cars start hooting as they see a small team of people in a field, no one has noticed before.  But it’s a good type of hooting on the N1 as I am sure they hooting at the model with the low neckline and not me the photographer.


Cars who were speeding try to slow down but it’s too late for them.  The mood is upbeat as we start at the unburnt section of the veld (field) as we move closer and closer to the burnt section the mood slightly drops and we are now closer to the highway and cars are still hooting and husbands evolve and have Ostrich like necks. Everyone is in the zone for this shoot, at least until someone cracks a joke. At the last stop, the ground is black and the wind is chilly the model wears a blanket as I am describing what poses, we going for. It is really cold at this point but I ask her if she is sure that we should continue and she says yes. The blanket gets tossed and someone catches it. I am like Yes; we are an oiled photo shooting machine. We get some good frames, the model is touched, we shot enough frames and I decide to cut the last session short, I can see she is feeling the cold wind. As soon as I say that’s a wrap a blanket appears out of nowhere and we head back to the cars. On our way home I pitch the second shoot idea as I show the location for another photo fashion shoot idea based on the drought we experiencing in Cape Town. Later that night my sister texts me, so I believe I will be making a blue dress…

The Team Title/ Role Instagram Connection
Alric Farmer Cape Town Photographer: AF Studio  Cape Town                 @alric_farmer_studio Me
Edith Farmer (my Mother) Cape Town Fashion Designer:  Madame E Couture @edithfarmer54 My mother
Nadia Block


Cape Town Fashion Designer:  Nadia B Designs @Nadiabdesigns


My Big Sister
Kaolin-Che Manyan Cape Town Model and makeup @Kaolin-Che Instagram stranger before shoot, now friend
Frankie Herwels Cape Town Jeweller: missAnkeJewels @missAnkeJewels Long lost Childhood friend
Zaynu Wagenaar & Deaulyn Steyn


Cape Town Photographers who assisted: Assistants Photography friends