still / life in motion a portrait of time passing
bettie coetzee lambrecht
still / life in motion a portrait of time passing
bettie coetzee lambrecht
Thank you to all participants in my project who have shared so generously of their time and talents: Henk Serfontein for your insightful musings on my pictures plus lots of energizing laughter; Rima Geffen for your inspirational suggestions; Adré marshall and Christine Coates for making available your previously published poems; Jaqueline Dommisse for your poem inspired by my photographs; Joan Brokensha for demonstrating the ‘step into our own authority’ which encouraged me to tell my story in the sequence of the layout; melanie Bruce for your eloquent words on age and others and being my right and left hand in tying up loose strands of this two year project; ilse de Korte for looking underneath the surface to find themes and symbols in the images; Elbé Coetsee for your invitation to launch my book at a solo exhibition; melanie and Adré for proofreading and editing the text.
To my daughter Liezl who turns 40 in this year when I turn 70. May she and all of her generation joyfully embrace each stage of growing older and cherish the wisdom it brings.
MelANIe BrUCe former travel agent, English teacher and Headmistress of
Ilse de Korte (nee Groenewald) grew up under the watchful eye of table
Springfield Convent School where she worked for twenty eight years, retired into the third stage of life, enthusiastically embracing new opportunities and adventures which included meeting Bettie! At present she is a keen golfer, Fine music Radio presenter, opera in a Convent Garden organiser, wine enthusiast and enjoys classical music, travel and reading.
mountain in Cape town. After wonderful school years in Pinelands, she went on to study drama and languages at the University of Cape town (UCt). As part of her masters degree, she spent a year at the University of Leiden in the netherlands and completed six months of doctoral research on myth and ideology at the University of nijmegen. Whilst finishing her PhD, she taught at UCt and then went on a Polish adventure in 2006 to teach South African studies and Afrikaans at the Adam misckiewicz University in Poznan. in 2007 she moved to Pretoria where she lectured at the University of South Africa (UniSA) for four years. in 2010, ilse created the website, www.Afrikamasutra.net. this lead to her translation of the Kama Sutra into Afrikaans as Afrikamasutra, beautifully illustrated by three South African artists. in 2011, she made her way back to Cape town where she now lives with her husband and cat, Artha and works at UCt. Her first chick-lit, Die jaar toe Emma begin kook het, was published in 2015.
AdrĂŠ MArsHAll studied English and French at the universities of Stellenbosch, Cape town and Paris (Sorbonne) and has a Ph.D. in English Literature from UCt. She has published a book on Henry James and taught English at the universities of Stellenbosch, Port Elizabeth and Cape town. now retired, she spends free time reading, hiking in the fynbos, and filling those proverbial shoe-boxes with poems. Several have been exposed to the light of day in poetry journals such as Carapace.
CHrIstINe CoAtes is a poet and writer from Cape town. She has an mA in Creative Writing from UCt. Her stories and poems have been published in various literary journals and selected for the EU Sol Plaatje Poetry anthologies 2011 â€“ 2014. Her debut collection, Homegrown, was published 2014 by modjaji Books.
about the author bettie coetzee-lambrecht enjoyed a rich career juggling her way through different professions including journalism, specialising in art-related feature writing, art reviews and art historical research. She taught art history at the University of Johannesburg (formerly known as raU). Over the past five years she has gradually switched from writing to indulging in a new interest: fine art photography. Exhibitions followed: a sell-out solo in 2010, The Flow of Stone in the De Waterkant Gallery in cape town, and a group show at the Affordable Art Fair in New York. Group exhibitions locally included New Thoughts: After Time, during the month of Photography Festival in cape town 2014. Winner of a number of Showcase competitions from the New York based online gallery, artslant, she has also earned a merit award from the New York institute of Photography and was the subject of a feature article in the online photographic magazine, Camera Obscura in 2009. Previous education includes a masters Degree in art history from the University of Johannesburg, following on a ba in languages at the University of Pretoria.
contents 8 10 12 15 25 28 28 37 47 49 55
Introduction | BettIe Coetzee lAMBreCHt Gifts in broken pieces | CHrIstINe MUller CoAtes Themes and Symbols | Ilse de Korte Boxed In Viewed from the river | Adré MArsHAll Wounded Why we need darkness | CHrIstINe CoAtes Creative Acts Easel | Adré MArsHAll Mystical Escape Frozen Loss
56 65 69 71 76 79 81 84 84 88 96
A liquid blur | JAqUelINe doMMIsse Melting into light Chinkerinchees | Adré MArsHAll Night Dreams Veins and Vanity Identity puzzle | Adré MArsHAll Fun and Laughter Naked Freedom Written on my body | MelANIe BrUCe Passion Performers
introduction Still Life In Motion investigates the effects of time on the human body and mind, similar to the erosive processes in nature. We perceive with awe the destructive process of smooth surfaces being fractured, volcanic eruptions distorting a landscape. Emotional turmoil or suffering leaves scars in the form of a multitude of illnesses. therefore we regard this process of decay in our own bodies generally with distaste and alarm. We fear ageing as the downward trail towards death. the enriching inward journey towards new found freedom of the psyche eludes us. We often, with a sense of wonder, reflect on the passage of seasonal cycles, but fail to apply the wisdom of approaching winter that the Afrikaans poet, n.P. Van Wyk Louw so poignantly evokes in Vroegherfs. Still Life in Motion addresses this discrepancy, both in the choice of subject matter â€“ older people dancing, walking, playing the fool, making music â€“ and in the application of camera technique using slow shutter speed, combined with different types of lighting. the camera is used in this manner to emulate the destructive forces of erosion in nature and apply them to ageing in human beings. instead of following the traditional intention of photography, to document visually-correct, threedimensional shapes, these images purposefully blur and destroy secure outlines. they distort shapes and present some figures dancing with their own shadows, others resisting outside control of their private space. Solid forms lose their dense materiality, become transparent and seem to be superimposed layer upon layer.
Silky ballerina legs covered with red spider veins juxtapose with decorative embroidered patterns on bed linen. through their pairing they invite the viewer to see age-related blemishes not as scars but as trophies of wisdom, so to speak. instead of hiding the full curves of a mature ageing woman, a naked torso swirls into a dance of sensual elegance and celebrates the sense of freedom from others’ expectations. Among a blur of distorted faces, the camera finds a crooked finger of an eighty-year-old, extracting, with tender strokes, energy from her crystals. the models in these images are friends from various professional backgrounds, including artists, musicians, teachers, poets and medical doctors, between the ages of 45 and 80. the photographs present them as objects, devoid of their individual identities. they have agreed to function mainly as props, as expressions of ideas. the photographs present them therefore as objects in a Still Life composition. “Dead nature” (nature morte) is indeed the French word for Still Life. “Still”, of course in the sense of motionless, dead, and ‘life’ referring to the new ‘life’ the artist creates through the choice of arrangement of, for instance flowers or fruit (living organic motifs). this idea of life and death associated with the Still Life genre is accentuated in the 17th century Dutch Vanitas still life painting tradition. these paintings display the new wealth of the middle classes in lush still life compositions. Hidden somewhere in such a composition the motif of a clock or skull, denoting time passing and ever present death lurking, reminds the viewer of the transitory nature of life on earth. my photographic project hints at this tradition, not through the inclusion of those literal motifs, but through evoking the simultaneous existence of death in life (stillness in motion) through shadows, multiple limbs and heads through camera technique, such as slow shutter speed.
Along with the series of ageing people captured in motion, through which the main narrative unfolds, a second series of photographic still life compositions serves as metaphorical lead-ins to each of the thirteen sections. Each section is characterized by a different emotion. For instance, the theme of playfulness and laughter is introduced by a still life consisting of a rock that seems to be smiling. to conclude, the main thrust of Still Life in Motion centres on the term, Change. All movement is encapsulated in this word, whether it be inner movement such as in changing one’s point of view or physical action like walking under a bridge. other aspects of change or movement are also present in these photographs: paradox, irony and contradiction. they combine with chance effects to underscore the idea of motion, as opposed to constancy, stagnation or stillness. in addition, one has to take note that none of these effects can be duplicated by the camera to achieve the exact same result in consecutive photographs. these images are ‘one-offs’, precious in their vulnerability. Seen philosophically, this means that at the very moment when the aged, mature mind can accept change without fear, that is when the ice melts. that is when the dead wood’s flame is kindled, as we immerse ourselves in the liquid truth of being alive. the cruel, terrible beauty of decay can then be celebrated as simultaneously a journey of creation.
BettIe Coetzee lAMBreCHt
gifts in broken pieces Awake in the wee hours, i realise iâ€™m shaken but not stirred! Disturbed but grateful. Another lesson in detachment. tHERE ARE GiFtS in BRoKEn PiECES, PRESEnCE in BURnt oFFERinGS.
CHrIstINe MUller CoAtes
themes and symbols Still Life in Motion is a setting of time, an image frozen forever. It is like the thickening of cream, clotting, setting. Blood coagulating, congealing or water solidifying and freezing.
preserved in that moment, waiting to break free and to continue growing at some other, mystical moment in a time that is not now. It is the mediator between life and death, “with a two-way positive and negative flow of creation and destruction.”
As you are taken on this slightly eerie journey through a moving landscape that has somehow been paused, set in a silent, immovable space, the movement behind each image remains almost tangible like the echoes in a dilapidated old house. You are so acutely aware that this is alive and you almost expect the images to start moving again before your eyes.
As water is symbolic of the unconscious, it points to the vital potential of the psyche, “of the struggles of the psychic depths to find a way of formulating a clear message comprehensible to the conscious mind”, yet this struggle is eternally still. The rose is a symbol of transition, of the changeability of the soul and of the cycle of life. Of birth, life, death and regeneration, just beyond a bud the colour of a sunrise.
Feet that should be dancing and hands travelling through the air stand still for a moment, trapped on the page. The foot bound to the earth is symbolic of the soul that supports the body. Yet here it is, caught in mid-air, ungrounded. Hand touching, feeling, sculpting; a gesture, still and powerful, signifying protection, authority, power and strength mirrored by the rock-like object being touched.
Juxtaposed to this, the other life-force is fire. Creative, yet simultaneously destructive. Light, symbolising the triumph over darkness and death, purification. It denotes a vitality, an energy that keeps moving and “implies the desire to annihilate time and to bring all things to their end.” Time here literally annihilated.
A thread that seems to run through the images is water. Primordial symbol of life and death, chaos and creation – that from which all life emerges. Water is limitless and immortal, the beginning and end of all things. Typically shapeless and fluid, here frozen and static, hinting at a moment just before melting, indicating endless possibilities. Symbolic of the unconscious, usually dynamic, unstructured, identifying with intuitive wisdom, the feminine side, the anima, the mysterious, but here frozen, still and clear. A single rose immersed, signifying “a return to the preformal state, with a sense of death and annihilation on the one hand, but of rebirth and regeneration on the other, since immersion intensifies the life force.” It is almost as though the rose is
The images all imply a duality. Life on the one hand, death on the other. Movement/passivity; conscious/unconscious; male/female; Yin/Yang; fire/ice; light/dark. This duality persists and co-exists in these images, implying an inner equilibrium that exists in all life. Movement, melting, fire and life, all coagulated on the pages, a frozen dance between light and dark. Dance is the incarnation of eternal energy, eternal movement and the creative marriage of heaven and earth. It symbolises a release from a mundane and unsatisfactory existence, “transporting man back to Eden, in an ecstatic urge to escape into pristine happiness.” It symbolises the act of creation. Doors and windows are open around the dancers, yet they cannot escape. Some shrouded in white gauze, trapped, faceless, blurred. No escape back to Eden.
The primordial once again captured in the image of the drum, the rhythmic beating and primal sound of mystic ideas. It is associated with the heart and again acts as mediator between heaven and earth. Yet the drum is silent, hands almost not there. A smile touches her lips, frozen in contemplation and concentration, forever. A silhouette ascends a set of stairs. Heading towards the light, the traveller makes his way forward with his hat on and his coat in his hand, indicating inevitable progress, an escape from the darkness, the present. He reminds us of Orpheus preceding Eurydice from the Underworld, but never quite managing to take that first step. The top of the stairs, the light eventually disappearing. Here, both trapped in the Underworld for eternity. Music as an act of self-expression comes through in the lone saxophonist, throwing her head back in ecstasy, somehow connecting with something beyond, something metaphysical. Sound is seen as the very first thing that existed and is equated to air and fire, transcending our corporeal world. It is the great healer. But the page remains silent. With images of ageing, decay, rust and charred wood, bodies are frozen in dance, desire and desperation. Some connected, some disconnected; some faceless and others almost reaching for you out of the page. A dreamlike world of possibility and suggestion is created. The reader becomes a voyeur into an intimate second set in eternity.
Ilse de Korte
- Cirlot, J.E. 1995. A Dictionary of Symbols. London: Routledge - De Vries, A. 1984. Dictionary of Symbols and Imagery. Amsterdam: North-Holland Publishing Company.
viewed from the river, your familiar form is sitting framed in your accustomed window on the stoep it leans forward in benign greeting as we glide our boat in towards the bank We look in as at a scene of Vuillard domesticity: your face in relief against a square of paisley patterned space But now, as we swing in past the jetty your form changes. the rounded silver head atop the pinkish jersey dislocates itself, becomes a lampshade perched on top of the pink tablecloth behind your chair where you used to sit. And so our picture fractures, dissolves, is reconstructed in hard-edged cubes and wedges until it settles at last into the unrelenting square of granite now weighted at your head.
wounded why we need darkness sometimes my world caves in and I am trapped by landslides that bury my wide afternoons. I remember how the san knew caves and the dark their first singing put the stars in the sky. there is something about darkness the miners
I sing songs to the granite sky to stay sane until rescuers punch a hole into the rocky roof. I forget that I need darkness, to be buried alive in a dark chamber - waiting, recording the oxygen I use, days, anthems to put the stars
eclipsed in the black earth
for 69 days make me remember days in the dark in the belly of the earth.
from Homegrown, 2014
easel (for B, 1917-2005) now five years on, your little wooden seat perched here on the hill in amongst the blombos with view wide-angled out to sea lies broken limbs crippled lie akimbo; slats of the seat sag gently yielding to the bush this only is what remains you called it your meditation bench and often abandoned brush and canvas wandered off to this retreat to find a kind of peace
always in quest, you flitted from one source to the next; ditched Scientology for Buddhism, took up yoga, reiki, crystals, dream-catchers all while we, the sceptics on the sidelines watched, smiled, sometimes mocked still the seagulls sweeping on the wind overhead ring their cries over us all, while on the hill the honey of the blombos still draws the flitting butterflies to perch sip, and move on the waves still sigh and pluck at the unyielding rocks, and the sea is stretched across the sky to other worlds your quest over at last the broken bench becomes a rickety easel creating now a frame for spinning spider webs and dust
a liquid blur to risk the word is to risk being more naked than the taking off of clothes tonight the courage to dance a fear that is as close as bone a fear that i am paddling in the shallows of the river into which my mother has slipped slipped under here even the sun is a liquid blur reaching through the murky deep through the shadows for something clear for sharp focus a time a place something
for a word what is the word what is that word what is that word what was that word a liquid blur to risk the word is to risk being more naked than the taking off of clothes tonight the courage to dance a fear
melting into LiGHt
melting into light
chinkerinchees (Ornithagolum thyrsoides) our first Christmas in a land of snow We ease open the flaps of the cold little box flown from home and stare there lie the corpses, packed like pale sardines head to heel, each swelling crown pressed against its neighbourâ€™s frozen foot We extract smooth asparagus fingers from their miniature coffin place them in a bowl of water, as directed and wait
outside, the snow hisses around us coils against the door, shuts us in Day by day, one by one, each pallid stalk unfurls its spike of glossy white blooms gathered in orbit around a pale gold heart until a dozen clusters of pure Lazarus faces unshrouded, jostle the tip of each pale stem We stretch our fingers to touch and warm our hands at the magic hearth of these magnified wax snowflakes, from the summer south each luminous white torch lighting up for us a wavering Persephone path back to the southern sun
melting into light
veins and vaNitY
identity puzzle their stories in all the papers: bribable bureaucrats at Home Affairs who steal passport photos stick them on to false iDs or steal your entire iD book for redistribution But for a Woman of a Certain Age (age of which even her friends are uncertain) as she closes the book on date of birth on how many years spent on this earth crueller than iD book or photo is the glass where she sees crows feet marching from eye to chin relentless; the unbribable mirror undeflected, standing firm and so, with indeterminate time still left she has to face this other ultimate iDentity theft
fun and LAUGHtER
fun and laughter
written on my body Retirement gave me the chance to peep outside and find out what the rest of the world had been doing while i worked. i am now learning to let time work its changes on me, not to let age define who i am; not to conform to age stereotypes. With a glorious sense of freedom, i realise that physical beauty, defined by the youth culture, is transient. the body changes but i donâ€™t. my wrinkles, the lines of life, have been put there by love, laughter, suffering and tears. And there are no inner wrinkles, unless my inner spirit loses enthusiasm. Peeling away the anxiousness of pretence is the key to becoming visible again. Cultivating emotional wisdom, spiritual understanding, not hefting the burden of the expectations and ideals of others, gives me the chance to live fully. i shall dare to take risks. i shall cultivate a spirit that is free and a mind that is playful. in this way i will surprise not only others, but myself too. this body is a wonderful machine and iâ€™m still grateful to have the use of it. no longer will i tinker with its working just so that it looks good on the outside. So i will say what i feel, stand up for my beliefs, love with wild abandon, laugh and cry out loud, hug! my story will be written on my body.
performers JoAN BroKeNsHA | Wisdom from an Octogenarian INtervIewed By MelANIe BrUCe “i first came into dance, to get in touch with a truer level of feelings. it is like acknowledging this is my male side, this is my female side, and through dance, they begin to get into balance. i started a group and i provide the music, music which has a shape. We start with strong rhythm. then i shift quite consciously into something that allows more feeling, to release somebody who is in a vile temper, or feeling very sad, or tender. And then, we come out of it with something quite light and bouncy. Both dance and the Alexander technique allow the person to move to a clearer understanding of who you are. it is total acceptance of the whole person, body, mind, spirit. i believe that the body is a complete expression of how we are. We flower, we are enlightened, if we have learned not to resist who we truly are. Self- judgement, self- criticism, all the ‘shoulds’, end up as tensions in the body. Unconditionally accepting who you really are, tensions can go, and you’re left with a very wonderful sense of peace and presence. Dance has become a spiritual meditative place, at this time of my life, at 81. Because i am so deeply steeped in metaphysics, based on ‘you create your own reality’, i know that you are responsible for the story of your life. Every soul is somebody who is exploring a way of being in the world. When you have come more or less to the end of that particular enquiry, then it’s time to die, to let go. But i’m not ready to die now. i have far too many things that i want to understand
before i go. While i was dancing, i got it so suddenly, no way am i ready to leave people i love! i just am not!”
PNINA FeNster | Passion i loved doing this shoot – not because i was the subject, but because it was so lovely to watch Bettie in action as she made magic with unexpected elements, turning a shawl into a flash of mystery, a staircase into an invitation to drama, a standard overhead light into a glowing, otherworldly moon. in my work as an editor, i am accustomed to working with word counts and page numbers, practicalities and expectations. this was the opposite of all of that: emotional and uncontrollable. And that is just as it should have been, given that the theme was passion! Pnina Fenster is the editor of Glamour. Prior to this, she was the editor of Marie Claire, an award-winning journalist and a newspaper columnist.
dAwN GArIsCH | The Dance That Wants To Be Danced in making myself available to the dance that wants to be danced, i empty myself of thought, and apply myself to keeping present and sensate. thinking can clamp down on or interrupt the language of the body, through criticism, or splitting off into past preoccupations and future plans. Friends in my dance group sometimes report that ‘they could not get out of their heads’ during a session, meaning they could not enter the flow of the dance. the practice of yielding to an unconscious motive force allows a conversation between knowing and not knowing. it assists me in all other departments of my life – how to manage the anxiety of not being able to predict what is going to happen next, and whether i am adequate to the task before me. my accustomed self can take a ringside seat and become an observer – not the habitual critic i carry on my shoulder
that was so lovely, she tells me, glowing with pleasure. Do it again, my darling. Dancing in front of the camera has the potential to evoke the critical and undermining eye. Yet Bettie’s attitude of curiosity and experimentation nurtures a playful immersion.
Foundation (mCADF), which i established to promote a sustainable development programme that provides training and employment in craft art for previously disadvantaged and/or unemployed people. the foundation specializes in the training of multiple skills. By collaborating with designers such as Haldane martin and Paola Lenti we produced the woven Zulu mama and Afra chairs respectively. Recently Jonathan Ball published my Craft Art in South Africa – Creative Intersections.
Dawn Garisch is a doctor who writes, a poet who walks, a researcher who dances. She has had five novels, a collection of poetry, a non-fiction work and a memoir published.
HeNK serFoNteIN | Freeing Experience
who incessantly, insidiously, finds fault – but an evocation of the perfect maternal who is available, observant and encouraging.
sUsAN vosloo | Friendship
Relinquishing control of my studio, and myself, to a relative stranger was not easy. While executing the movements Bettie requested, i felt mechanical, my arm suddenly heavy from stage fright.
South Africa’s first female heart surgeon practices at the Christiaan Barnard Hospital in Cape town. She is a Cardiothoracic surgeon, with special interest in repair of congenital cardiac defects and transplantation. She is a strong proponent of the organ donor project even to the extent of being willing to be photographed in the nude for marie Claire magazine’s Donorship project. She is the winner of numerous awards, including ‘inspirational Women of S.A.’
this collaboration intensified awareness of the delicate relationship between subject and object in the creation of an artwork. the insecurity of being the object of study by another, requires lots of empathy from the artist, before it can become a freeing experience and break through some limitations i have set for myself.
Her long-standing friendship with a close friend from school and university days, artist Johann du Plessis, prompted her participation as a collaborator for the photographic book, Still Life in Motion. together they interpret the issue of strained relationships as portrayed in D J opperman’s poem, Draaikewers.
in my own Still Life paintings i have explore the multiple meanings achieved through appropriation of other artists like Lucan Freud and thomas Baines. my landscape paintings are night scapes, empty of people but evoking human presence in built structures. my work is represented in many private and corporate collections including GEnCoR, SASoL, ABSA, Rand merchant Bank, Webber Wentzel and Spier.
elBé Coetsee | Dare to do what I do
JeNNIFer reyNolds | Every Age
it was a perfect setting, to dance for my dear friend’s camera: the mogalakwena Craft Gallery. where i indulge my love for the hand made object. my body moved in dimmed light, repeating the mantra “i will dare to do just what i do. Be just who i am. And dance whenever i want to!” (a quote from Sabrina Ward Harrison.)
When Bettie asked me to consider being a model for her ‘Still Life in motion’ project, i was taken aback. in my mind i am still every age that i have ever been. Yet growing older has brought happiness and the willingness to take risks. i ditched my city job and now indulge my passion for art, both visual and musical. my days are spent surrounded by the visual in the StateoftheARt gallery, my evenings with the musical, as the proud owner of a 1945 Selmer tenor saxophone.
the Gallery operates in tandem with the mogalakwena Craft Art Development
JAqUelINe doMMIsse | Reflections
JoHAN dU PlessIs | Inverted Image
When i decided to dance the idea of memory loss, i started working with the pools of light and shadow on the floor, created by the overhead lights recessed into the ceiling, using the metaphor of clarity and obscurity. And then, amazingly, i noticed another light pattern – the outside lights reflecting a sharp-edged cold light in the shape of the windows on the parquet floor. But these refections played a game with me – i could only see them from a particular place and if i moved towards them they faded and then disappeared. this light-play dance made me feel as though i was dancing inside your photographs.
i have always been fascinated by the individual’s response when confronted with a self portrait. in most cases the reaction is negative – ‘terrible’. my mother showed me a photo of myself when i was six years old. i immediately pointed out there was something wrong – the parting of my hair sat on the wrong side!
Jaqueline Dommisse is the Artistic Director of a small independent theatre company, Hearts & Eyes theatre Collective. originally from Johannesburg she, her husband and young daughter have made Cape town their home for the past 25 years. As a theatre maker and director, Jaqueline is a passionate storyteller with an eclectic style, using whatever medium best serves the story she is driven to tell, harnessing everything from puppetry and circus skills to dance and spoken-word. She teaches theatre part-time, often focusing on the nGo and community theatre sectors in organisations such as Community Arts Project, Arts and media Access Centre, new Africa theatre Association, magnet theatre and ASSitEJ South Africa. She has an interest in puppetry, masks, and visual theatre, and sits on the board of Puppetry SA, UnimA. in 2010 she served as Artistic Director of the out the Box Festival of Puppetry and Visual Performance. Recent directing credits include the critically acclaimed My Name Is Rachel Corrie edited by Alan Rickman and Katharine Viner, which premiered in 2013 at the national Arts Festival, and a puppet theatre production, Sadako, which toured France in September 2013. in addition, Jaqueline directed martin moran’s The Tricky Part; an integrated dance-theatre work for Remix Dance Company called Bluebeard; Stone Words, a spoken word production by Khadija Heeger, and several award-winning plays written by Peter Hayes: The Alchemist’s Heart, I am Here, Sadako and Suburbanalia.
this incident still remains with me, even though i have eventually worked out that the mirror shows an inverted image of oneself, therefore the parting seems to have moved from one side to the other on one’s head. i realised that inverted image of oneself is also what another person sees of oneself. this incident has stayed with me, though luckily i have overcome the ‘problem’. nevertheless i felt cautious when i found myself in front of Bettie’s camera. it was a long time since i’ve danced, and furthermore, the space for our shoot was an art gallery exhibitiing my own art works. Having seen her photo’s before, i knew they wouldn’t be the ‘normal’ type, so i collaborated. the end result of the shoot, blew me away. the photo’s were unbelievable, mysterious – amazing works of art. Welgedaan Bettie! Artist, curator, educator and owner-editor of former specialist art magazine, Contempo.
sHelley voN BrANINGeN | Fun What a fun photographic session … strangers meeting for the first time and leaving like old friends, and old friends engaging together in delightful abandon and joyful movement – all inhibition and social decorum set aside. How refreshing a healthy dose of craziness can be! What an honour to participate in the process!
i am an ex- ballet dancer, with degrees and diplomas in Physiotherapy, Homeopathy and various alternative therapies. i practise in Hout Bay as an intuitive, Jung inspired counsellor and coach. i am also a yoga practitioner, an avid gardener and animal lover.
MArIANNe MArteNs | Blessed Spirits When Bettie asked me to pose with my flute, for her project, i was not anxious at all, even when she explained that the shots were not going to be pretty, but rather an interpretation of age. i knew i would be engrossed in my music whilst she would be prowling around with her camera. Playing the flute, one has to use the facial muscles in a certain way, which actually accents the ‘age’ lines! So i was lost in Debussy’s beautiful Syrinx as i interpreted the tragic story of Pan losing Syrinx, his love. When a white net was thrown over me, i felt challenged but as soon as i started using my voice to sing the melody of Gluck’s Dance of the Blessed Spirits, i was able to move freely and expressively to capture the desperation of a trapped spirit.
NolA CollINs | Levitas
nola Collins is a South African actress living in Cape town after many years in England. She is featured in a short film, ’Til Death, by michael Klein, to be screened at the 2015 Goan international Film Festival.
trIx Bester | Camera obscura i have spent twenty seven years of my professional life sharing the fascinating subject of Biomechanics with my students. my interest in movement and the beauty of the human body, probably set me on this path. increasingly i have become more in awe of this wonderful human machine and our ability to control it. tentatively i take a few steps. i am aware of the lens following me, flashes going off, and music. Gradually i enter my body more fully as i follow Bettie’s suggestions. i know she will not use any material i am uncomfortable with. i feel fully part of the creative process and allow my body to dictate the mood, and as i experiment with different movements, i become one with the process. it is liberating and meaningful. Being photographed at an age where you are very aware of the dismantling process going on in your body, is daunting. Although we accept the ageing process, putting the results on show, so to speak, is not as easy as saying the words.
See! Here i am in my second childhood! i had so much fun with my friend Shelley during the recording of these everyday activities. Bettie’s camera literally focused my awareness on the little miracles of daily life and the blessings of firm friendship. now that i’m older, i no longer care about upholding some sort of social identity. i feel i come from a more authentic place. Laughter increasingly inhabits my world. these photographs juxtapose the gravitas of my ageing body with levitas – the lightness of my spiritual being. i appreciate their integrity.
JoHN CArtwrIGHt | Winggggs Dancing gives you winnnggggs, and you don’t have to drink any sparkly stimulants in order to fly. i’ve always been physically active – mountainclimbing, running, gardening – but until i was around fifty my dancing was of the normal ballroom/bopping/jiving kind, not involving much more personal expression or communication than the equivalent of ‘i wanna hold your hand’.
I have an old man’s feet! Who is this, invading my person with blotches and wiggles of purple and blue? Well, I shall use his feet to dance with. The dance goes on.
At the end of the Eighties, though, i was becoming deeply embedded in a fog of academic and other committees, plus fathering a teenager, plus trying to produce academic articles that weren’t a waste of good trees, and one evening my feet took me (that’s how it still feels – i don’t remember any explicit decision by my head) to the studios of Jazzart Dance theatre, in an old factory building on Jameson Street in town. thank you, feet. this was like a door opening to a fuller sense of myself. Alfred Hinkel, John Linden, Dawn Langdown: what wonderful and appreciative witnesses they were to my (and all of our) stumblings, jumpings, fallings, slidings, as we slowly learned the language of our bodies and how to speak it in our own voice. Sleepwalking from a desert of committees, I wake up in a dance class. Here, whatever move I make is the right one. the photo session with Bettie took place in a blank room on a hot afternoon, with no music or accompaniment, other than the sound of my bare feet on the floor, and incorporated whatever light and space was there, including a panama hat. Dance improvisation is a joy, a great aspirational metaphor for one’s life: no intention, no expectation, just the moment and the movement. And then the next.
Still Life in Motion explores the paradoxes of growing old and living young. First Published in 2015 by EmC DESiGn CAPE toWn SoUtH AFRiCA Copyright published edition Photographs ÂŠ bettie coetzee lambrecht iSBn 978-0-620-66614-5 Design: EmC DESiGn and mR Design text editing melanie Bruce Proof reading melanie Bruce and AdrĂŠ marshall Bettie Coetzee Lambrecht asserts the moral right to be identified as the author/ photographer of this work. All rights reserved. no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the copyright holder. CoNtACt detAIls oF AUtHor/PHotoGrAPHer
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a portrait of time passing BETTIE COETZEE LAMBRECHT