Tag Archives: Greshoff

Jan Greshoff – Images of rural South Africa, Cape Province in 1960’s & 70’s

Following on from my last post of Jan’s pictures a couple of weeks ago (http://wp.me/p32AWy-3V), here are some of his rural views.

He was interested in structure and it is rare to find figures or life of any kind in his images.  Whilst this may be a shame from some points of view, it does somehow set his images apart and makes them all the more enticing.








(These files were scanned from his original prints all of which were dry-mounted on to board and many of which are now rather bowed making the scanning process at times rather challenging)

I know it should be obvious but when I got up close to the QEII bridge I was amazed by just how substantial the main support towers of this bridge are.  From a distance it looks like a thin delicate web like structure but it really is anything but.

Stitched Panorama

This is another image from the session I did on the first day of the year – this time a bit closer up!

And looking up…


Jansje Wissema and her South African Cow Parsley Photogram

Years ago, before I had nurtured my own interest in photography, we had a family friend who was a photographer. She was Jansje Wissema and regrettably she died in the 1972 (I think) before I could really get to know her.  She produced some fine images of my family in between doing her District Six work for the South African Institute of Architects (more about that later maybe) and the medical work that paid the rent.

Her image of my brother Adi sitting in a chair in front of the huge 8 sheet Steinlen Lithograph poster (Steinlen is more famous for his cat posters) that used to hang in our dark sitting room, remains one of my favourite pictures.  I have tried persuade the curator of photographs at the SA National Gallery to sell me a print but they remain steadfastly reluctant to consider the idea. The SANG now own all of her negs so I can’t argue the case and so I have to make do with the little print she gave us at the time. Her work has a respect for humanity that I think in these days of image proliferation is sometimes hard to find.


I also have a vivid memory of being fascinated my one of her Christmas Cards that was made from a photogram of a head of Agapanthus.  It is particularly interesting now, in that photograms are really a product of the analogue era and are not easy to produce nowadays.

Many years later, though still in the days that I had a functioning darkroom (rather than a loft full of it’s contents!), I used some Cow Parsley, Agapanthus not being easily available in the UK, to produce my own version of her card that had something of the feel of her original.


She remains a source of inspiration for me both in terms of photographing architecture and portraiture.