Give your image a say

Once upon a time, long ago, the silent movie took centre stage. People flocked to the cinemas and sat glued as figures flitted silently around the screen. Cigarette smoke rose up and the beam of yellow light from the projector six stories up in a little room in the ceiling became an exciting part of the magic.Sometimes a pianist would strike up a tune (in those days cinemas had a stage.) The church choir might have been called in and often, one would have to stand up when the tune, “God Save the Queen” was played. Of course, you had to be British or live in one of the British Colonies for this to happen. The yanks never stood up for a thing in those days because they had flowers in their hair and were busy rebelling against authority.

Get to the point Mercer.

OK, I will.

Just this – it’s time to put a voice to our photographs, to tell the story around the click of the shutter, because stories are the in-thing. I encourage you all as photographers to begin to print your own books and alongside each image include a story. This makes it so much more real and exciting, not only that, your photographic skills will be greatly enhanced if you consciously and intentionally form stories around every image you take.

All the best with your stories, your new books, and for those entering the weekly challenge, your exciting tales.

Lots of love, photographically speaking,


Here are some of my stories:

Dancing for money

It wasn’t that I was deeply affected when I saw these two little girls dancing in the streets of Cape Town. I knew that the alternative would be starvation. Even though they were barefoot and that sewerage was pouring from a drain nearby, I knew that I was living in a country that had been seized by the Gupta family and that the poor, the uneducated and the marginalised had no chance at all. 

September 2017



The old man receives his joy
I was walking down the Company Gardens Avenue in Cape Town when I first caught sight of this man, asleep on one of the benches. It was a while later that I saw him reappear in the city centre. The look on his face was one of awe and totally astonishment. A busker was playing the sax and this old man was totally amazed at the sound – and so overjoyed that he put us all to shame. 
September 2017
The beauty of the drug den

I stood there staring for a while and realised that I shouldn’t really be there, especially with a camera hanging from my shoulder. I was fascinated though by the organic colours, so much so that the filth and stench of an inner city drug den eluded me for a moment. I came to my senses as a young man rounded the corner; his eyes were glazed, but he was quite surprised to see me. I took the shot as he ducked back into the room and in haste, I decided to make it back to safety. 

September 2017

The wrong message

The view from the top of Signal Hill over Sea Point and the Atlantic Ocean is one many tourists are familiar with. After Apartheid, many artworks were installed, and they all had to do with human rights and the reversal of the injustices of the white regime. While I can understand the motivation behind the statement, “Your respect is my strength,” I think that it is a fairly futile one at the best. When we place our sense of being respected in the hands of another, we will always be disappointed.

September 2017

I was in their area and I was photographing their pain.

It was a time to show respect and to try to understand how they felt about the injustices of life. That’s why one needs to travel and to understand what people go through; to ask questions and to keep silent when listening to their response – not to offer an opinion borne out of what can be deeply engrained prejudice.

September 2017

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