Making Images

Let me travel on the landscape of making things.  Years ago what I’m doing now wouldn’t have been possible to the uninitiated.  It was for technician artists to do.  Now technology makes it possible for types like me.  I offer some of mine.



I have been interested in the way gates make their mid-afternoon shadows on the sidewalk.  This is in the suburb where I take walks.  The photographs are then treated in different ways with a graphics programme.






I share the ones I consider more successful.  The images evolve in a hit-and-miss process.  Sometimes it happens and sometimes it doesn’t.  You can decide what these attempts at abstracts mean for you.




(c) Will van der Walt

Les Semboules, Antibes

December, 2018


Henry Moore (1898 – 1986)

Many years ago I was privileged to see a retrospective exhibition on the work of Henry Moore.  What made it special too, was that it took place on the hill above Florence, the city where, centuries before, Moore’s role model Michaelangelo had fashioned his art.

For me Moore is the giant of modern sculpture.  His work is monumental.  He stretches our consciousness and takes us deeper into reality.

If range of emotion is the criterion of greatness in an artist’s work, then Moore is great.  In this Mother and Child we see anxiety.

He can depict threat.

He can produce symbols.

Above all, he sculpts the grace of woman, elegantly strong, quietly confident.  We see this, amongst others, in his Madonna and Child.

Then, there is a being from another dimension …

On a desolate mountain on an unknown planet, the king and queen are waiting …

(c) Will van der Walt

Les Semboules, Antibes

November, 2018



I have had these images since the 1960s and am not in a position to state their origins.


Henry Moore















Colour Images

It goes without saying that in our time we are saturated with imagery, good or bad – internet, TV, films.  Perhaps I’m carrying a cup of water to the Pacific Ocean, but I’d like to share what I’ve been collecting since long before computers became general.  In the process of many years I did not foresee that I would use these images in this way and express regret than I can’t, in most cases, name photographers.

This image, as I remember, was done by Obie Oberholzer in the South Africa of the 1980s.  It was a dark period in our history, shot through with the fear of civil war.  The vast majority of us are happy that things turned out differently.


This image “Matador” by Ernst Haas is characteristic of his impressionistic photographs.  Just a pity about that page divide.

Photography of nature has at times been astounding.  This image is delicately out-of-focus with sharp colour-contrasting focus at the centre.  


In the 1990s the Hubble camera photographed scenes from deep space that have become legendary.

At the other end of the cosmic spectrum, there is micro-photography.  Each year NikonSmall awards such photographers and publishes their images.  Images of beautiful abstraction.

This image from the film “Space Odyssey 2001” is an extreme close-up of the actor’s eye as he sees the visions of Jupiter before him.  This could even be an image of the surface of the planet.

A photographer, unlike a painter, sometimes has a mere second to decide and here is an example of that.  I have no idea where this stadium may be and no, this image, like its subjects, is not upsidedown.

Allow me the cheek to insert one of my own images, here amongst great photographers.

(c) Will van der Walt

Les Semboules, Antibes

November, 2018



I have acknowledged photographers where I can.  



Black-and-White: a few images

Nicéphone Niépce produced the first photograph in 1826 or 1827.  From that moment a new medium had arrived.  In the 1840s there were experiments in colour photographs, though they were only realized by Gabriel Lippman in 1886.  In 1895, the Lumiére brothers invented the cinematograph — images could move.  The magnificence of black-and-white photography (really only shades of grey) was clear long before the 20th-century.   I share images that I have had for so long that I have lost the names of the photographers.  I pay tribute to you whoever you may be. I have the cheek to include one of my own.

In this image, with its sharp focus on rough textures, there is tension in the composition:  does the visual line flow from left to right or from right to left?  I find that interesting.

This image from the 1960s captures the thin line between life and death, the flowing into the other.  I call it the “Grave City”.  I think the city is New York.


This image takes me quietly by storm.  It is by photographer Jerry Uelsman in 1961.

What smitten emotion does this image portray?  The inner feeling is amplified by the blown winters tree.

Most of us see things like this happening.  Some of us grab a camera and capture the image.  In many respects, this is well composed, contrasting plain black and white surfaces with frenetic shadows.

I’ve quite been unable to say what the appeal is here.  This Russian photographer captured his subject on a patch of melted snow somewhere in St Petersburg.  It probably has to do with the three contrasting textures, elegantly placed.

Call me arrogant.  I still think this image I took of the Pieke in Stellenbosch was rather successful.

I would love to retrace the source of this image.  I think it was on a train in the then-Rhodesia, that is, prior to 1980.  The image appeared around the world.

This image from the Dutch Volkskrant was labelled Ransdaal which left me unsure whether this is the photographer who took or the place it was taken.  An image that takes your eye further along the road, while the young mother tends to her baby.

This image comes from the war in Bosnia in the 1980s-1990s.  It is the texture of shattered glass that brings out the tragedy of this child caught up in a war.

I am not sure city is in the background.  But the agony of that wire lost in the snow does it for me.  I think the image is from the 1960s.

This strange and dynamic image could come from a dream.  It begins to show us that the medium of photography is not limited.  A truly creative image.

(c) Will van der Walt

Les Semboules, Antibes

October, 2018



I regret not being able to acknowledge photographers.  Some of these images I have had before there were computers, never mind blogs.




My Pics

Travel exposes me to art, all kinds, styles and histories.  I ask myself, Do I only view it and wonder at it?  Or does the experience push me to try my own hand?  The answer is in the following images, each of them my photographs that I have treated with Picasa graphics.   What the original photographs were is included at the end.

(c)  Will van der Walt

Les Semboules, Antibes 

September, 2018


My Photographs

1  “Banana Story” – I was interested in the “story” suggested by the black banana (cf. sheep) of the family

2  “Black-and-White blues guitar”  –  the hand per kind permission of Donatello

3  “Winter Trees”  –  a random shot in the winter streets of Antibes

4  “Curtain Man”  –  an artist’s wooden model, with curtain 

5  “Ceramic hands”  –  hands used to display rings in shops

6  “Blue god”  –  the metal pattern on the floor of a bus

7  “Winter Tree”  –  a reflection on the windscreen of a car, in those same winter streets

8  “Palais de Congress” at St Raphael  – image tipped on its side

9  “Hand and Tap”  –  a pic I took in the yard at the Ruth Prowse Art School, Cape Town 

10 “Face glow”  –  a polystyrene head to advertise dark glasses in a pharmacy, Les Semboules 

Dubai Airport, 28/8/2018, 00 :10

Open the oven door and put your face in.  That’s what you feel as you step down the flight steps to the waiting buses that will take you to the terminal building.  If you can believe it, the bus takes at least 15 minutes to get there.  No, it’s not airport traffic; it’s the distance.

And I see the terminal building through a haze of exhaustion, a kind of spectacular dream, the nightmare luggage check, rivers of anxious people flowing this way and that.  Then, the trek to the boarding gates from where my ‘plane will lift into the night air above the Arabian desert.  For me, there is no sleeping.  Troubled dozing, maybe.   This is the price I pay for travel.  And yes, I’ll keep paying it.


I amuse myself by taking photographs and long after that I amuse myself again by giving the images graphic treatment.  I share some of them.




And, from the round-corner port I see Table Mountain.  It’s still there.  The airport itself zooms for a minute and then stops.  I feel in a daze.  My friend is standing at the entrance with his Waiting for Godot sign, a little in-group joke we have.  When I see the faces of my country, hear their words, I begin to be touched again,  a feeling that doesn’t actually leave me.  I can feel my second breath.

© Will van der Walt

Well, where would it be?

August, 2018


My graphics (publ by RockCloud)

With thanks to Douglas and Dave for fetching me and welcoming me – friends I have had for more than 58 years.


SERIMA – a kind of rebirth

The Serima Mission Church in Zimbabwe, founded by Father Groeber (1903 – 1972), a Swiss missionary, after the Second World War, is a landmark in the anticipated  rebirth of Africa.

I have not been to Serima and if I had to go it would be a kind of pilgrimage.  The images presented here mostly come from a book.

Father Groeber and sculptors

It is a biding passion for me to see how the artists of the modern world manifest concepts of the sacred;   at the same, how cultures that are not European do this.  The relief work, painting and sculpture of this mission station, facilitated by Father Groeber, is remarkable.

The Last Supper


Last Supper in Ethiopian coptic idiom

He stated that, from the beginning, he tried to keep traditional European images at bay, encouraging the African sculptors to develop a wholly African idiom.  It is probable that he was not entirely successful at this.

FIgures from the Old Testament



The search for the African idiom has yielded great art in the realm of the sacred and I think of the Misa Luba, the Congolese mass, to mention one memorable achievement.  Serima, at a distance, recalls for me, the Romanesque of Europe, but there are elements that are unique as well.  The idea of a “pure” culture is probably a myth.  This work, though, has Africa at its heart.

Scene of Stilling the Storm


Figures from Old Testament

I am uncertain what the link between the Serima art and Shona sculpture is.  I’d be happy if someone could tell me.  In the meantime I can only wonder at this rich creativity coming from a country that has known war and political unrest.

Christ figure


Mother and Child

© Will van der Walt

Les Semboules, Antibes

February, 2018



Book on Serima, details pending


Images – Fr Groeber, Church

Book on Serima, details pending







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