For my parents, Michael And Deanne You have raised me and loved me, you have taught me what it means to exist within a family and the value of honouring each other. I treasure the times spent together, the lazy days enjoyed in Cape St Francis and the winter walks in Morgans Bay. As one chapter of my life will soon end and another begin, may we always look back with love upon the memories shared. I have experienced the beauty of family, and cherised the love and support, and the bonds that hold family together. Dad, with your larger than life personality, endless optimism and eternal belief in me I dedicate this to you. Mom, with your selfless, sacrificial love and support I dedicate this to you. I love you.
Family portrait outside John and Valerieâ€™s house. From left: Brian, Jennifer, Jane, Judy, Caroline, Valerie, Nicholas, Michael and John. Chelmsford, England, 1971.
John Davis and Valerie Bromiley
Family portrait taken during The Great War. Thomas and Rosanna Yates with their three daughters, Edith, Florence and Margreet. England, 1916. Margreet is my great-grandmother. 5
Arthur and Frank Bromiley before Frank got his breeches, 1902. Frank, my great-grandfather, was two at the time. 6
Godfrey Laurence Davis on the beach. Walton-on-the-Naze, England, 1950. Godfrey Laurence married Elizabeth May and they had five children: Brian, Robert, John, Margreet and Elisabeth. 9
Godfrey Laurence and Elizabeth May at home with their son and my grandfather, John. Walton-on-the-Naze Esseux, England, 1954.
Afternoon family tea at the Davis household. Walton-on-the-Naze, 1960.
Valerie Bromiley, 1960.
Valerie in Blackpool, her childhood town. Langeshear, England, 1957. The famous Blackpool Tower stands in the background.
John in the army swimming team, Germany 1955.
John and Valerie. Hyde Park, 1957. John Davis married Valerie Bromiley in 1969, and they had four children: Michael, Caroline, Nicholas and Peter. Michael is my father. This year John and Valerie celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary.
John proudly poses with his car, 1957. 14
Michael, my father, in attack mode. Lagos, Nigeria, 1966.
Michael and Caroline plan their next move while Nicholas contemplates a puddle. Lagos, Nigeria, 1966. Opposite: Afternoon games in the garden of the Davis home.
George Muller, my great grandfather, was held as a prisoner of war during the Second World War. He was serving in North Africa when he was captured and held captive for two years. This metal badge was shaped for George by his prison roomate. It depicts his wife, Viola, and his daughter Rene, who was two years old at the time. Rene was my motherâ€™s mother, who sadly passed away in 2006 from a heart attack.
Peter Bicknell and Rene Muller
Edith ‘Tiny’ Bruton and her record player. Sandflats, 1928. Opposite: Family portrait. Thomas and Ethel Bruton with their children, Stanley and Edith and relative Henry, 1884. Edith is my mother’s grandmother and my great-grandmother.
Arthur Bicknell. Port Elizabeth, 1941. Arthur married Edith Bruton and they had two sons, Jack and Peter. Peter is my mother’s father and my grandfather. 24
Peter and his older brother Jack swimming at Kings Beach. Port Elizabeth, 1938.
Jack and Peter at a Vintage Car Rally. Schoenmakerskop, Port Elizabeth, 1943. 25
Peter Bicknell on his first day of primary school. Port Elizabeth, 1941. Peter is now 76.
Jack and Peter gardening. Port Elizabeth, 1943.
John Davis and Deanne Lynn Bicknell
Deanne and friend, Carl. Grahamstown, 1982.
Michael hones his fire skills. Port Alfred, 1982. Opposite: Michael and best friend, â€œMetsâ€?, camping in the Transkei over New Years, 1983.
Deanne in the kitchen of her â€˜digsâ€™ at Rhodes University. Grahamstown, 1983.
An afternoon at home. Grahamstown, 1983.
Michael John Davis married Deanne Lynn Bicknell on the eleventh of November 1984. This year they celebrate their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary together. Later in the book you will see the expansion of their famiy, but after getting married they started having children and are now the proud parents of six children, of which I, Samantha, am the second oldest.
Michael and Deanne. George, 1984.
Soaking up the sun on honeymoon. Port Alfred, 1984.
Honeymoon morning tea. Port Alfred, 1984.
Michael and Deanne happily married and deeply in love. Hogsback, 1990. Above: Deanne and her father, Peter, baking pudding the night before Jessica was born. George, 22 December 2009. This was Michael and Deannes last night ever without children.
Michael, Deanne, Jessica, Samantha, Rachael, Daniel, Isabelle, Thomas and Jethro. Christmas, 2008.
Michael, Deanne and Jessica. Christmas, 1987.
The Davis Family
Peter Bicknell with Taryn, Deanneâ€™s sisters daughter. George, 1987. Opposite: Davis family holiday. Ballito Bay, 1990. 48
Margreet Bromiley outside her house. Blackpool, 1975.
Godfrey and Elizabeth Davis. Rainbow Valley, 1987.
Deanne picknicking with Jessica and her second-born daughter, Samantha Jane. Knysna, 1990. Opposite: Jessica and Samantha with cousins Taryn and Kerry. East London, 1990. 52
Deanne with her first son, Daniel John Peter Davis. Port Elizabeth, 1995.
Third-born daughter Rachael and Daniel sharing a bath. Port ELizabeth, 1995. Opposite: Samanthaâ€™s fourth birthday. Port Elizabeth, 1992.
Samantha trying on her new ballet clothes on her fourth birthday. Port Elizabeth, 1992. 54
Michael and Daniel fishing during school holidays. Kei Mouth, 2006.
The spoils of a deep sea fishing trip. Red Romans, Cape St Francis, 2006.
Isabelle and Michael at home. Port Elizabeth, 1999.
Thomas and Michael playing father and son games. Port Elizabeth, 2003.
Isabelle Ruth and Katie, one of the infamous family dogs that didnâ€™t last very long. Port Elizabeth, 1999.
Happy holidays! My parents trying to sleep at 6am while Isabelle and Thomas jump into their bed. Family holiday, Morgans Bay, 2005. This photograph brought a wave of nostalgia as I remembered my childhood mornings spent jumping im my parents bed. Sometimes my parents would let us bring our matresses into their room and then we would all camp out on the floor, and in the morning we would all jump in their bed.
A Home away from Home Cape St Francis is our familyâ€™s reprieve. Every excuse to go there is siezed, and the trip is made even if only for the day. My favourite times in Cape St Francis are the weeks spent there during the summer holidays. Walking, fishing, braaing, surfing, reading, playing family games, swimming and trips to the lighthouse all blend together into one long seamless day and summer holidays pass in a blur. Time passes slowly but quickly- as the days roll by and days stretch into weeks and soon its time to depart back home to reality. It is here we all truly relax, laugh and enjoy each otherâ€™s company, it is here the concerns of life cease momentarily and we can just be. It is here that I have decided to photograph my family and capture the essence of freedom, joy, family, beauty and the essence of Cape St Francis and our familyâ€™s memories.
As we are now
Daniel on the rocks at Cape St Francis, fishing for the fifth day in a row. Cape St Francis, 2009. Opposite: Isabelle and Sandy, our faithful dog. Cape St Francis, 2009.
Rachael Joy. Cape St Francis, 2009. Opposite: Cape St Francis mornings. Isabelle Ruth, Jethro Stephen and Thomas Robert enjoy braaied mielies for breakfast. Cape St francis, 2009.
My motherâ€™s kitchen is her sanctuary, faithfully cooking everyday for a family of nine, plus friends, boyfriends and fiances. Every night at supper our table is jampacked with people grabbing a plate and enjoying my moms delicately prepared meals. Momâ€™s kitchen, Port ELizabeth, 2009. 69
Family lunch. Fathers Day, 2009.
My sister Jessica is someone I admire. At the age of 19 she selflessly began caring for and fostering a baby boy, who has now become her son. Not only does she take care of him, but she absolutely loves and cherishes him, providing him with a home but more importantly, a motherly bond and a family structure. Jessica and Eugene hope to adopt him as their own son after their wedding in December. The Story of Jethro: “ The first day I saw Jethro, the 4th of September 2006, I felt a love inside of my heart for him which was stronger than anything I had felt before. I knew I wanted to be his mother. It has been a long road to walk, and we are by no means at the end, but by our trust in God that He will make us his ‘real’ mom and dad is absolute and we live each day with complete faith that He will finish what He has started in our family. Jethro is an amazing boy, totally delightful to everyone he meets. He has a ferocious sense of humour, a wild imagination and a sparkly, independant, inquisitive nature. He is our treasure.” Jessica Lee Davis, 2009.
Jess, her fiance Eugene and precious son Jethro and the things they enjoy- lazy Sunday afternoons reading the newspaper and sunny days frolicking on the beach . Port Elizabeth, 2009.
Opposite: Jessica Lee and Jethro Stephen. Port Elizabeth, 2007.
“Gramps” Peter Bicknell in the field. Zooberg, 2008.
“Gramps” with a glass of beer and sport, his favourite things. His wife, and my mom’s mother, Rene passed away three years ago, and my grandpa has amazed everyone with his strength of character and how he has rebuilt his life after sharing it with Rene for over fifty years. Port Elizabeth, 2009. 78
Family outings are always interesting. Mothers Day, 2009. 79
Samantha looking through the lens, as per usual. Cape St Francis, 2008.
A family portrait done as a gift for my father. Port Elizabeth, 2009.
The shadows of my father and I as we wait for the shutter of my camera to record the moment. Full moon, Morgans Bay, 2008. And this is what we are left with, shadows and memories as the days that represent substance fade away. Good time and sad times, memories and experiences, growing up and growing older, looking forward and then looking back... Life moving on. One day my great grand children will be looking â€˜down the line.â€™