2011 is history and it feels as if it flew by at warped speed. I always seem to be mystified as to where the time goes by December. I think it’s partly a Cape Town problem, that everything stops for a few months in the middle and then doubles in speed to catch up those few Winter months.

I’ve done a little re-cap to try and make up for my lack of blogging and I enjoy looking back on the memories. I hope you will too.

2011 was my first year as a full time photographer and other than the panic when looking at the bank balance, it was actually pretty damn awesome.

Dutchman-076wmIt  began with a decadent Wagner Opera at the Suidoosterfees, The Flying Dutchman.

I usually shoot during dress rehearsals as there is no audience for me to disturb, but at this dress rehearsal, the people were streaming in, in their hundreds. Family and friends of the cast and orchestra ( + a few Taiwanese tourists?), and I fought my way to the front row and negotiated for a centre seat.


Turns out my neighbour was one of these Taiwanese tourists, and when I pulled out my 5D markII, he pulled out his5D markII.  When I changed to my  ‘big boy’ lens, he pulled out the very same one. He was firmly sticking to his ploy of not being able to understand that he was not allowed to photograph, and so we sat, elbow to elbow, with matching cameras and zoom lenses, attempting to capture a magnificient beast of a production.

Opera - JesseKramer-618wm

The Mechanicals’ production of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ was one of my favourite productions this year. Certainly the most entertaining Shakespeare I’ve seen. 15 actors set in a forest & a palace inside the smallest theatre in Cape Town!? Really? It rocked & somersaulted my socks off.

Midsummer Nights Dream Jesse Kramer

The Fugard Theatre was injected with a whole lot of new life this year and it has rapidly become a happy and welcoming home for theatre & performance with much hard work & dedication from all who work and play there. I have been enormously priviliged to spend time photographing in and around this most beautiful building which happened to win a Loerie award for it’s architectural design this year as well! (See more of The Fugard)

I spent the most wonderful day at Sakumlandela School in Khayelitsha at the beginning of the year when  Off the Mat, Into the World presented one of my favourite non-profits, the Earthchild Project, with a new classroom for yoga and life skills education. The day exuded so much love and happiness, it was a great highlight of the year.


A few months later, I was able to spread the love a little further by participating in the Devayani Children’s Yoga Calendar which featured one of my photos of this day in their 2012 Calendar which will support 12 charities from around the world. (See more Earthchild)

I spent a few nostalgic afternoons in rehearsal and remembered how interesting it can be for the precious few who get to watch a play being brought to life from the page.

(More photos of ‘The Birdwatchers’ rehearsal)

There were so many 2-handers this year!  This was definitely a lesson in creativity, to get as many interesting shots as possible with just 2 people in one space.


2011 was full of 1’s and 1sts.

I organised and hosted my first Photo Walk in collaboration with KIKI during Cape Town Creative week. Bringing together my favourite things: Cape Town, Photography; meeting new people; World Design Capital 2014 bid and the new design district in town, The Fringe.


I photographed my first man in drag and then a few others followed suit. So much fun! 

Viva.Vrot. Jesse Kramer

SomelikeitVrot. Jesse Kramer

I got my first taste of dust and the Media Pit at Oppikoppi & met some very lovely rockstars.

Oppikoppi Jesse Kramer-172

music Jesse Kramer Photography

I tried my hand at food styling and photography with the team at Oded’s Kitchen for the cover of

In Search of Plenty: A History of Jewish Food by Oded Schwartz.

I ran and drove between 9 theatres during the Out the Box festival to capture an overview of 20 productions in a week.

Out the Box 2011

A first for shooting nude photos in the City Hall! Right next to the balcony where Mandela made his speech about the end of apartheid 22 years ago, we recreated breaking the Apartheid Immorality Act.

Athol Fugard’s Statements After an Arrest under the Immorality Act plays at The Fugard Theatre January 2012 for the first time in 40 years in South Africa.

and of course there were the ones England names as the Royals of theatre, the Knights and the Dames: Sir Anthony Sher and Dame Janet Suzman.

 The  portrait of Sir Antony Sher was taken for the Cape Town run of ‘Broken Glass’.  A few months later Sher repeated the same role in another production in London and to my great delight and shock, the photo was requested to be used on their West End poster, displayed throughout the London Underground and metres high on the theatre billboard!

But I love this story so much because the portrait was taken in the theatre between rehearsals in an available  stairwell with just a window and a home-made reflector, no crew, no studio lights and look where it ended up! Crazy days.

Definitely the highlight of my year.(image courtesy of Kirsten Bond)