Editor’s Note: What do we really know about our streets and roads, and the people, buildings, spaces and dreams that come together to make up the fabric of our city? Without a brief, Guy Neveling and Paul Cocks, aim to capture urban life and people through photography and moments with people. Photography plays an important role in exposing the state of our streets without bias about where it has come from or where they are headed. We will leave you to draw your own conclusions.
by Alix-Rose Cowie
Main Road Chronicles is an ongoing street photography project by Guy Neveling and Paul Cocks. Sometimes walking together but mostly hitting the road on their own, Guy and Paul shoot with Main Road, Cape Town as their subject, give or take a few roads running parallel. The unique stretch of road starts in the city winding around the peninsula, and going through a multitude of diverse suburbs, open land and coastal road.
There is no brief but to come back with interesting photos after an interesting day. At times the experience itself outshines the shots. Guy says, “There’ve been occasions where I’ve met someone and there wasn’t a bone in my body that could lift the camera to shoot as they really just wanted to have someone to talk with. Taking a shot would have in a way cheapened the encounter. It does get very therapeutic shooting this way. One tends to get wrapped up in one’s own existence and reality and forgets the gazillion other lives from all spheres busy being lived with all their highs and lows.”
One of his favourite meetings was with a retired bus driver who claimed to walk from Muizenberg to Woodstock each morning to sit in the park opposite the Golden Arrow bus depot and watch the busses come and go. “He spoke for about an hour, and would have gone on if I didn’t have to move on, about his old bus routes. The intense love he had for driving busses was inspiring.”
Shooting for Main Road Chronicles has been an exercise in becoming a stronger photographer, more than just technically. Guy let us know more about what goes into the sometimes exasperating though no doubt rewarding process, “ Street photography for me is picture making in its rawest form. It’s incredibly hard as well as subjective, and most of the time frustrating as one can go for days on end without getting anything worthwhile. Pictures are made or failed in split seconds and there’s no Photoshop allowed to fix dodgy mistakes. Like everything, the more one does it the better one gets. It’s a never ending learning curve, from thinking and framing in split seconds to digging deep and discovering your own comfort zones and fears. When in doubt smile, a smile will always open a door.”
Take a look at the moments they’ve collected so far and follow the project as it grows at main-road.tumblr.com.
When they’re not taking great shots on the pavements of Main Road, Guy and Paul both shoot commercially. Find more of their work at:
This article originally appeared at Between 10 and 5 on 31 January 2014.