Back in Canuckistan I got a bit of a reputation with my friends for trespassing – in the name of photography. But it wasn’t really trespassing, I don’t think – I just went to abandoned places, and walked in, where most people wouldn’t. I never entered areas with “No Trespassing” signs but admittedly, in the case of the abandoned mill, I did need to “bush whack” a fair amount to get there. And I did crawl under a fence. But there were no signs! 😀
One reason I enjoy shooting where others don’t go as a rule, is that I get different shots to the norm. Last week, while at the Neighbourgoods Market in Braamfontein, Johannesburg with some friends, we decided to explore. Two of the friends are keen photographers too and so, of course, I took them along and showed them the skills one needs to get to rooftops and into locked, fenced-off yards.
First, we went to the roof of the building that houses the market. The upper floors are being renovated, the stairwell was open, there was nothing to say we weren’t allowed up, and so we decided to try (to get to the roof). Sure, I could tell you we met a guard a few floors up, and that he eventually reluctantly looked the other way after I begged and used my famous doe-eyes, but that wouldn’t be true – I don’t have doe-eyes. The door to the roof was open; from there we got shots down at the market itself, and across parts of Johannesburg.
Of course, the day wasn’t all about photography: we had a great time at the market, consumed many cappuccinos and enjoyed the amazing food, before heading out again. We started by wandering around Braamfontein, then walked across the Nelson Mandela Bridge towards Newtown, shooting trains, tracks and the bridge.
Here, we came across the old Park Halt Railway Station, which we shot from the road. But that wasn’t good enough, in my mind. I could see graffiti at its far end and wanted to explore it up close. The framework was apparently erected on this site in the 1990s to become a railway museum, which was never finished, and it looks as if it has been used by vagrants and as a party venue in the interim. It is fenced off all the way around but we found a guard and I asked if we could go in to take photos. After some cajoling he too relented and let us in.
Here are the photos from our few hours in Joburg – from Braamfontein to Newtown and back again.