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Martin Osner on the dynamics of photography



Martin Osner is one of the few photographers from around the world who hold the distinguished title of ‘Canon Brand Ambassador’.

“Canon Europe invites professional photographers who shoot on Canon equipment and who feel they will contribute to their brand, to be a Canon Explorer,” shares Osner.

The renowned South African photographer who has taken pictures for more than 25 years states that photography connects us with reality like no other form and he also observes that photography is a dynamic medium that is both an art and a science.

“The camera allows us to alter reality using the dynamics of the lens, together with contrast, colour and depth.” As is the case with all art forms photography has had to change its aesthetic and adapt to new artistic cultures over the years.

There has been a transition from using ‘Film, Polaroid, and now digital; camera and software. “These have allowed for both camera as well as post-production experimentation. Photography is becoming more and more interesting, and now with 3D (photography and printing) things are about to get even more exciting,” shares Osner.

Lately the art form seems engrossed in the latest technologies to the point where critics wonder about the sustainability of photography as an independent art. Osner is adamant that the art will remain true to its form. He observes that people generally use the camera when they want to capture reality as closely as possible; in the case of capturing history and to a ‘lesser degree’ advertising photography.

Despite this he reveals that, “Many artists myself included, take advantage of the camera’s inability to record the scene accurately, and in my opinion it is this that allows for self expression and the creation of art.”

He shares examples of the growth and versatility of photography. “Look at the popularity that photography has drummed up in the high street galleries of major cities. It has become the new kid on the block and has attracted a young contemporary audience.”

Another platform keeping photography relevant is the digital or online medium which has given the art a boost and elevated its popularity in ‘a very short space of time’. The increased competition that came with the rise in technology has not threatened Osner. “With new photographers coming into the fold the cream still rises to the top, so the best will just get better, and this is exciting,” he adds with confidence.

Osner practices fine art but also enjoys most aspects of photography and likes to explore abstract photography. “I also enjoy hand-controlled art techniques like image transfers, hand painting of photographs and pinhole photography.” This he explains is the reason why as a subject photography needs to be understood and appreciated.

“Learn the technical craft, know your camera, learn how to use light, the artistic side of composition and design. Engulf yourself in art and the history of art. Visit exhibitions and follow the work of interesting photographers. Practice, practice, practice! Develop a style that is unique to you, and then you will be ready to stand up and be counted. It is one thing to pick up a camera and take a picture, but it is completely another to use the camera to successfully create interesting photography.”

Osner’s passion for his art led him to open his own professional and commercial photography studio more than 20 ago in Pretoria (SA) which he called the National College of Photography, this he says was a period when he was very experimental due to preparing for his lectures and when he started to create his artistic signature look; he was also heavily involved in the advertising industry and getting challenging assignments like creating and re-enacting major oil spills via the camera lens.  

Over the years he has accumulated numerous sentimental images however there are photographs that have stood the test of time and dramatically changed his career line. “One photograph in particular is from my ‘Abandoned Collection’, which I have been working on for about ten years. It was the very first photograph in the collection, of an old car sitting on top of a pole, out in the rural areas of the Free State (SA). This photograph dramatically changed my approach to photography.”

Until this point he had been studio based using controlled lighting and effects. After taking this particular picture he closed down his commercial photography business to force himself out of the studio and to go and shoot in natural light. This commitment and dedication to his craft has paid off in the literal sense.

Thus far the most expensive picture he has sold has been R60 000. “I have done a number of private commissions that have paid well, and in fairness to my clients I would prefer not to divulge pricing. Generally the prints in my gallery are fairly priced, and average around R10 000. The most expensive print sold to date at the gallery is R60 000.”

A cry a lot of artists can relate to is the lack of a dependable consumer market for art or fine art including photography. Even Osner has observed this trend on home ground through the sales of his images. “I have a stronger European and American audience than South African. I think this is because photography is so well received internationally.”  

Osner who thanks his wife, children and God for his gift and supporting him 100 percent is a firm believer in mentorship; both receiving and giving. He mentors The Midweek Sun photographer, Pako Lesejane and has four mentors he looks up to; two photographers and two painters.

“The great Ansel Adams for his majestic black and white photography. He was a technical genius. I base a lot of what I do on his “zone system” for exposure and contrast control. Henri Cartier-Bresson, a brilliant photographer for his interesting approach in portraiture and natural light documentary photography.

Henri Matisse the great painter, for his bold use of colour, and Jackson Pollock the crazy abstract painter.”

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Local artistes steal the show at GIMC concert

Keletso Thobega



La Timmy gave his best as usual and set the mood a notch higher with his upbeat sounds.Meanwhile, Boogie Sid took the crowd way back with a set reminiscent of the early 2000s. Robbie Rob and Brando also gave a fun set that had dancing along. Meanwhile, Sjava’s performance was quite tepid.

He didn’t seem excited to be on stage and his performance was bland from start to finish. Han C on the other hand was a fireball of energy and set the pace, proving that local is truly lekker. The Sedilaka star belted out in tune while also gyrating madly as if his life depended on it. Many sang along to his hits Mafura fura and Se-ileng.

South African rapper Nasty C also held his own fort and although his performance was nothing to write home about, he seemingly gave his fans their money’s worth as they cheered wildly. The Hell No hitmaker saved the popular song for last and everyone sang along to the jam with a catchy hook.

Another energetic performer was Master KG who has been making waves recently. His unique sound, a mix of kwaito, mosakaso had many wiggling and jiggling as if they have ants in their pants. The Situation and Skeleton hitmaker and his dancers churned infectious dance moves throughout their performance.

Meanwhile, Lady Zamar churned hits such as Collide, Criminal, Charlotte and My Baby among others, as she showed off her well-choreographed dance moves. Prince Kaybee was in his usual element and while it was not his best night, most revellers enjoyed the house tunes, especially the hit Club Controller, which can make even the most uptight person lose their morals and hump and bump in the air.

One of the revellers Tshidiso Mokaila said she had enjoyed the concert. “It was chilly but the whole show was well-organised, from the sound to security. It was my first time here and I had the time of my life. I will definitely come again next year,” she said. Another reveller who only identified himself as Tshepo said that the popularity of the bash seemed to be declining but said he was impressed that the organisers had beefed up security this time around.

“We had fun knowing that our cars are safe. The performances were just OK but I think that the no cooler box policy turned off many people especially as there was only one beer on sale and no ciders.” The MCs for the night Loungo, Sadi and Somizi did a sterling job and kept revellers in a party mood. While the previous editions were much better than this year’s instalment, there were few incidents this time around. Revellers let their hair down and partied the night away until the wee hours of the morning.

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The sky is the limit for Ginah Molodi



In what started as only a mere passion for music at the age of (11) for Ginah Tinah Molodi, it has now changed into a big reality as she recently featured in one of the most decorated DJ in Botswana Boineelo Othusitse known as DJ Bino in a single house-track dubbed Ke Mosadi. Growing up, 23-year-old Molodi was a vital member of the Praise and Worship at her church.

In a recent interview with Vibe, Molodi said that her mother had always encouraged her to give her best. “My late mother has always been my mother, a role model, a best friend, an instigator and that really kept going because she motivated me,” she said.

The Mmadinare born aspirant artiste made her first major appearance in one of the Botswana Television (BTV) talent show called My African Dream before deciding to try her luck on this year’s My Star Show, “I have always dreamt of joining My Star from the moment it started broadcasting on BTV and I only got join this year because I wanted to share my talent with Botswana as I always believed in my singing and the talent that got has given me. Winning would have been a great bonus to me,” she said.

Molodi further reiterated on her current main enthusiast who is apparently her aunt. “The one person who was always behind me is my aunt Thusano Moseki, she has always been my biggest fan and she used to call me at my tenure at My Star wanting to find out whether I chose either the right song or rehearsed well and stuff and that really motivated me a lot as she strongly believed in me,” she said.
Molodi said being eliminated in the My Star Top 12 had not deterred her as she went on to release a single. “I did not win at My Star but that never really discouraged me because I have so many people that believe in me. I decided to do a single titled Ke Mosadi which is basically a personal song and it celebrates a women from her phenomenal transition from a young to a women with a massive help from DJ Bino as my producer,” she said.
Meanwhile, DJ Bino said that Molodi’s brother had sent him her audio. “When I first heard that our home girl is currently at My Star, I told her brother to send me the audio and she was amazing. I promptly decided to start working with her.
She did not win maybe because sometimes the judges do not see what we see as producers hence I took liberty to do a song with her because I appreciate her talent,” he said. DJ Bino added that Molodi still had a long way to go as she will soon be working with big names such as Odirile ‘Vee’Sento, Busi (Malawi) to push her promising music career to greater heights. DJ Bino also confirmed that he was working on dropping his 2nd album, which will be titled The Journey.

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