Portrait – Sam Motsuenyane, African Bank

Portrait – Sam Motsuenyane, African Bank

The founding chair of African Bank. When  African Bank was formed in the 70s by black businessmen, it was meant to help others escape the constraints of apartheid and become financially free.

African Bank made headlines in late 2014 when the bank was placed under curatorship by the Reserve Bank in August after the bank warned of massive losses and said it needed about R8.5 billion in new capital. It was subsequently downgraded by Moody’s.

Photography – Jay Caboz
Location – Winterveld with Sam Motsuenyane
Publication – see the articles in Forbes Africa Magazine Oct 2013 Issue

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Portrait – South African Public Protector Thuli Madonsela

Portrait – South African Public Protector Thuli Madonsela

Thulisile Madonesla is South Africa’s Public Protector. She is also a Human Rights Lawyer and Equality Expert. Madonesla is one of the 11 technical experts who helped the Constitutional Assembly draft the final constitution in 1994 and 1995.

At the time of the photograph Madonsela was  investigating the “Nkandla Scandal”. A few weeks later she released her report in March 2014 where she found Zuma and his family had unduly benefited from the R246 million (Al most $21 million) spent on the upgrades. She recommended Zuma repay that part of the money not spent on security.

Zuma has since not paid back the money, an action that has caused strife across South African households.

Photography – Jay Caboz

Location – Public Protector Offices, Pretoria South Africa

What better way to portray the “champion of South African justice” than by putting her against a South Africa flag located in her offices in Pretoria.

Publication – Forbes Woman Africa Magazine

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Portrait – Richard Maponya, Mall Tycoon

Portrait – Richard Maponya, Mall Tycoon

Known as the man who build the first shopping mall in Soweto, 86-year-old Richard Maponya is an iconic entrepreneur in South African history. Maponya Mall is his holy grail. It took Maponya $62.8 million, 28 years and a string of lawsuits to carve out the first shopping mall in the bustling Soweto.

Photography – Jay Caboz
Location – Richard Maponya‘s house Hydepark, South Africa
Publication – see the articles here Forbes Africa Magazine Feb Issue

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Cover Shoot – Brimstone for Forbes Africa Magazine

SEE THE FULL STORY HERE

I flew down a few weeks ago to get my second cover of the year for Forbes Africa Magazine. March 2015 Edition, out now on shelves and also written by me.

I would like to introduce Fred Robertson, a former teacher, and his partners Mustaq Brey, a self-taught chartered account from Wynberg, and Lawrie Brozin from Johannesburg – the men of Brimstone Investment.

At the turn of South African democracy these three men, from three different worlds, set out in the shadow of Table Mountain, in Cape Town, to change their fortunes. In April, it will be 20 years since they took $840,000 from working people in Cape Town and turned it into $628 million.FA 2015 Mar OFC

Shoot

1. How I got the shot?

Shooting in harsh sunlight is not always a walk in the park. Sunlight can be your friend and also your enemy. In order to place the Brimstone crew in front of Table Mountain the angle meant they were 1/3 in shadow and the other 2/3 in the sunlight.

So what do you do?

Obviously for a cover photo we weren’t going to use natural light so we packed up two Mono Heads. You then can underexpose your photograph so that the background is slightly darker and then blast your lights at full power. (See pic 1 and pic 2 below). The same effect can be created with two speedlights synced up, the Mono Heads are more powerful though.

In effect what you want to do is overpower the sunlight with the Mono Heads to cancel out the shadows.

To darken you background and soften the glare you can also use an ND filter. The filter acts like a Polaroid lens. Ever noticed how when you are at the beach the white sand can blind you? Well this is what the ND filter reduces. It also helps to darken the background, making it easier to shoot with artificial lights.

If you didn’t have the ND filter you would have to shoot at F16 or F32,which will create more depth of field in the background. (And yes I wanted to differentiate the background so I shot at F8). It also becomes a question of balancing the artificial light. Most cameras will only be able to sync at 1/200 or slower 1/60. (You get faster but this was what I was working with) With such a bright light outside this would have been tricky. At F8, without a ND filter you are looking at a shutter speed of somewhere in the region of 1/500 or 1/1000 to fast for the artificial lights.

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Picture 1: This is a photo taken without lights. See how the shadows are quite dark on their faces. You can’t see their eyes at all. For the cover shot this was the exposure I set my camera to, notice how dark the background is.

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Picture 2: It’s not in focus but you can clearly see how a flash can overpower the surrounding light. It is made easier because you underexpose for the background.

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Picture 3: Here is a behind the scenes shot. See how Nisaar and Nazima have to hold the lights up. As a consequence we couldn’t use diffusers to soften the white light with the monopods — they would have blown away. (We even had sandbags by the way) You can also see the wind blowing Brozin’s jacket on the far left.

2. Unexpected things? – WIND

Weather permitting Cape Town is one of the most beautiful locations in Africa to shoot. Emphasis on weather permitting. Luckily we had a few hands on deck to hold up the mono lights thanks Nisaar and Nazima! 🙂 (Picture 3)

It’s pretty much a waiting game when it comes to capturing the right moment. Outdoor shoots are tricky when you have to wait for the wind to lull. But the Brimstone crew were willing to embrace the moment (which I am quite grateful about)

3. Body Positioning?

Body position can make or break a shot. In Picture 1 you can see the Brimstone crew are standing in a tiered position. Shoulder behind shoulder. When we were initially brain storming the shoot (Yes we do this for all our shoots) we thought this would look appealing.

At the shoot I felt this was a little too posed and it looked extremely unnatural and too much like a Facebook photo.

We eventually moved the gentlemen to more of an inverted pyramid. 1. It slims the figure. 2. It leads the eye to the subjects. 3. In bright sunlight people tend to squint so I had to angle the bodies to get the subjects to look at me without closing their eyes.
Overall I was very happy with the outcome. It was something different to put on our cover and it was a challenge to overcome.

Portrait – South Africa Squash Woman No.1 Siyoli Waters and brother Luvuyiso Lusaseni Lions Rugby Union

Portrait – South Africa’s Woman Rank No. 1 Siyoli Waters and brother Luvuyiso Lusaseni Lions Rugby Union

South Africa’s women squash champion Siyoli Waters and her younger brother Luvuyiso Lusaseni, professional rugby player with the Lions Rugby Union in Johannesburg. We challenged the two for a brother versus sister competition in the squash court. Needless to say Siyoli won quite easily. I nearly got hit twice during the match.

Photography – Jay Caboz
Location – The Wanderers Club, Johannesburg with Siyoli Waters and Luvuyiso Lusaseni
Publication – see the articles here Forbes Africa Magazine November Issue

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Portrait – Maybin Mudenda, African Grey Insurance

Portrait – Maybin Mudenda, African Grey Insurance

Maybin Mudenda is on the list of young Africans making a name for themselves across the continent. This canny Zambian is part of a new generation of confident, cool and savvy Africans making millions on the continent. He vowed to be the cover article of Forbes Africa Magazine in 2019 when I met him in his offices in Lusaka. I guess time will tell.

Photography – Jay Caboz
Location – African Grey Insurance offices Lusaka with Maybin Mudenda
Publication – see the articles here Forbes Africa Magazine September Issue

Maybin Madiba Mudenda

Portrait – Tariq Yusuf, Solar Power

Portrait – Tariq Yusuf, Solar Power

Yusuf is the man behind the Intratrek 260-hectare, 100MW solar power plant under construction in Zimbabwe; one of the first solar projects of its kind in the county. Yusuf is also linked with the Tara KLamp, a controversial medical tool used for circumcisions in South Africa’s Kwa-Zulu Natal province.

Photography – Jay Caboz
Location – An abandoned field in Johannesburg with Tariq Yusuf
Publication – see the articles here Forbes Africa Magazine August Issue

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Portrait – Hanson Sindowe, Copper Belt Energy

Portrait – Hanson Sindowe, Copper Belt Energy

Hanson Sindowe is the last person you would expect to be one of Zambia’s richest; he grew up the son of a policeman in a family of farmers in the village of Kalomo, 120 kilometers north of Livingstone. Sindowe is the engineer, who wanted to be a pilot, but ended up buying Zambia’s copper belt power distribution company, Copperbelt Energy Corporation (CEC) in 2006 for $120 million.

Photography – Jay Caboz
Location – Lusaka Offices with Hanson Sindowe
Publication – see the articles here Forbes Africa Magazine August Issue

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Cover Shoot – Nicky Oppenheimer for Forbes Africa Magazine

My first cover for the year turns out to be one of the biggest names in African business – Nicky Oppenheimer, for Forbes Africa Magazine.

Nicky Oppenheimer and his family – worth $6.8 billion according to FORBES – are looking to blaze a trail across Africa – its out with diamonds and in with investment in Africa’s entrepreneurs.  The Oppenheimer wealth makes them the third richest in Africa.

“The Oppenheimer family ended its 85-year reign atop diamond giant De Beers in 2012 when Nicky sold his 40% stake to mining conglomerate Anglo American for $5.1 billion in cash. Anglo American, which Nicky’s grandfather founded, now controls 85% of De Beers; the government of Botswana owns the remaining 15%. 

Nicky Oppenheimer served on Anglo American’s board for 37 years through 2011, and he retains an estimated 1.8% stake in the company. Now he’s turning to private equity through his E. Oppenheimer & Son, which controls investment arms Stockdale Street Capital and Tana Africa Capital, a joint venture with Singapore government-owned investment firm Temasek. Tana holds minority interests in African food manufacturers Promasidor and Regina Co.”

— (FORBES.com)

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I didn’t quite know what to expect when meeting Mr Oppenheimer. He is known to be very media shy. He turned out to be quite relaxed as we chatted about cricket and Pangolins during the shoot. Time with businessmen is a rare thing, and with Mr Oppenheimer we had about half an hour to shoot.

Things to do to make the most of your half an hour shoot:

1. Pre-scout

With limited time and with us shooting on location it’s always advised that you try and arrange a pre-scout of the space. Also try go at the same time as the shoot to gauge the lighting.

2. Have a backup.

When we did Mr Oppenheimer’s pre-scout, I immediately noticed the office space was too busy for our cover shot. There was too much going on. So we brainstormed other solutions and came up with a low key shoot with a black backdrop.

3. A mock set-up

When renting kit, you could always practice on someone the day before, at another similar location, so that you have an idea where to put your equipment and the settings.

4. Don’t mess around

You and your client are not there to mess around. Work efficiently. Know the body positions you want to work with. Have everything set up (arrive an hour before the client if you have to) before the client arrives. Then make minor adjustments to your lighting. The last thing you want to have is technical issues before you have even started.

5. Have a spare flash to shoot ‘off the grid’

Nothing ever goes according to plan. An interview may run late. Your subject may need to leave on an emergency. Have a portable flash set up and be ready to go if you have to abandon the studio. Follow the client until they have to leave…and then follow them to their car. Snap along the way if you have to make sure you have got a variety of shots.

Shoot

This gives you a better idea of how we set up the photo.

This gives you a better idea of how we set up the photo. I removed the softbox on the right of the figure, and lowered the power to 1/16 for the head shot.