Portrait – Analjit Singh, Healthcare
We step out of Analjit Singh’s blue Lexus into a picture postcard. Such is the scenic beauty greeting us. Singh is dressed in blue–shirt, turban and Nehru jacket–and poses with the panoramic mountains, also blue, in the background. We are standing under a benevolent April sun in Leeu Estates, Singh’s farm in Franschhoek, a picturesque wine town in South Africa’s Western Cape province. Singh points to a large white cross perched like a beacon on the slopes of the Dassenberg Mountain. “Everything below that cross is mine,” he says.
We are on 68 hectares of farmland featuring vineyards, pomegranate and plum fields, oaks, olive trees and herb gardens. Men are at work laying bricks, building and restoring Cape Dutch edifices, putting together the many elements of what will be a boutique winery and 25-room, five-star hotel set to open next year as part of the Leeu Collection. “Leeu is our name [in South Africa]. In Afrikaans it means lion, just as Singh in Sanskrit means lion,” says Singh. For the record, the number plate on his Lexus SW is, no surprise, LEEU 1.
Singh says that the manor house under construction will also include a library containing both Gandhi and Mandela memorabilia. The manor house overlooks a manicured garden with art occupying center stage–life-size bronze sculptures by South African artist Deborah Bell handpicked by Singh. “I know all the people in the art world in Cape Town,” he says. “We have been acquiring art and sculptures, all of which will be displayed at our estate.”
Leeu Estates is a composite of three adjoining farms–Dieu Donné, Klein Dassenberg and Von Ortloff–that Singh bought in a year. The total investment in the development is $35 million.
The estate will include a gym and spa and a winery producing the Mullineux & Leeu Family Wines, overseen by husband-wife winemaking duo Chris and Andrea Mullineux. Winners of the 2014 Platter’s Winery of the Year Award, the couple will develop a Leeu range of premium wines for release at the end of 2016.
Follow the link to read more: Max India’s Analjit Singh Builds Grand Estate In South Africa — FORBES ONLINE
Photography – Jay Caboz
Location – Franschhoek, Western Cape, South Africa
So there we were, in the wine valley of Franschhoek, and we get to meet Analjit Singh. It might not look it from the photos, but I promise you that it was raining for basically the entire time we had with him. The sun came out for about an hour, and in that time, we had to drive to his farmhouse (which is still being built), set up and then shoot like mad.
No time, for expensive lighting. Nada. So I whipped out my trusty flash on wifi remote and we got going.
I remember telling the editor of Forbes Woman Africa, on our way back:
“This story is going to be cover material. I bet you its going to be a cover.” — Well I was right.
Originally we were only going to shoot for an interior story, so the fact that the weather came out to play for a bit was no real issue. BUT if there is one lesson you can learn from being a journalist is never underestimate the importance of a story. The same should be applied if you are a photographer along for the ride.
Everything came together for a few minutes just enough time to get the shots I wanted. What a miserable day it would have been if we couldn’t an outdoor portrait to drive the point home, who wants to do an indoor photoshoot when you are here in one of the most beautiful areas of South Africa.
So what did I learn from this shoot? — Shoot as if every photo you are taking is going to be seen on the cover of a magazine. No matter who is behind the lens, the fact that you are speaking with a Billionaire does lend itself to that but you just never know.
As far as my interaction with Mr Singh went? The saying “he is a true scholar and a gentleman” is meant for him.
Publication – Forbes Africa Magazine, July 2015 edition