It is difficult to nail down a specific aspect of Jozi that appeals to me as a keen amateur photographer. Whatever your aspirations and areas of interest Jozi delivers in spades. Take a walk below the freeway in Newtown or around Carfax and you will find an ever-changing landscape of street art by some of the most talented wielders of the spray can in the city. This area too will give you an opportunity to sample, provided you are there on a weekday, some of the best coffee available in the inner city. Here on a weekend shoppers mingle with trolley pushers and churchgoers to provide a riot of colour and subject matter for the keen eye.
Move south and kick off a walk from the Sheds on 1 Fox where on selected days you can sample great food and beer and if you are lucky a free concert by Gauteng Opera Company. To your left as you move east the remnants of the old Chinese business district provides a glimpse in to the lives of one of the groups that make up the diversity that is Jozi. A little further on, opposite his erstwhile offices,a statue of Nelson Mandela, as a boxer, is juxtaposed against the Central Magistrates Court. Once the bastion of the enforcement of apartheid laws now a beautiful example of early Jozi architecture. Make your way through the Mining District to Ghandi Square taking the opportunity to photograph the buildings, gardens and bronzes within the Anglo American precinct to the Headgear and other artefacts celebrating the “City of Gold”. In and around this area are many examples of the varied architecture of the inner city mingling with the hustle and bustle of vibrant city life. The views from the top of the Carlton Centre and the Reef Hotel provide expansive opportunities to capture the inner city from above. Further to the east are Maboneng and the newly developed Victoria Yards providing spaces for people and creative energy to flourish. Not forgetting northwest of this Braam and the Juta street area imbibed with student life, people, places and much to tempt the lens.
Enough of the urban stuff. For those craving the outdoors, greenery and the like Jozi will not disappoint. As I write we are treated to the annual display of Jacaranda blossoms blanketing the leafy suburbs in the purest purple. Here too is Zoo Lake with its abundant birdlife, the Botanical gardens and Emarentia Dam where canoeists and optimistic fishermen can be filmed against the early morning light and where autumn brings a palette of yellows, oranges and vibrant reds.A bit further afield are the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens with its waterfall and breeding Black Eagle pair.
So if it is architecture, people, colour,street art, landscapes or streetscapes you wish to immortalise Jozi is the spot. Within a couple of hrs you can be in the bustle of downtown, move to the splendour of a Mosque, rivalling those of Istanbul to the tranquillity of a Buddhist Temple, Nirox Sculpture Park or gardens awash with aloes and everything in between. Jozi is a veritable feast for the lens.