Join us in a Q&A session with Gerald Cubitt, the author of the new coffee table book ‘Evocative Africa’, encapsulating the best of his African photography over the past 30 years, now available at the gift shop at Cape Grace.
Q. What camera equipment do you use?
A. I have always used Hasselblads, currently with lenses 50, 80, 150, 250 and 500. The transparency film only takes 12 exposures which makes you think carefully before taking the picture.
Q. The coffee table book roams through various southern African countries and Indian Ocean Islands, what are some of your most memorable places?
A. Madagascar is one of my favourites, especially Ranomafana with its huge diversity of primates and other wildlife. Namibia is sublime to photograph as the light is so sharp.
Q. Do you have a few favourite pictures in the book?
A. I love the image of the two pairs of ostriches running across the white dunes of Namibia’s Skeleton Coast, all in symmetry of movement. Table Mountain is special because of its significance and symbolism. The baobabs of Madagascar are very graphic against a magenta sky and I like the dignified Ndebele lady as a strong representation of her culture.
Q. Have you had any dangerous moments?
A. I nearly got sucked into the vortex of the erupting Lengia Volcano in northern Tanzania while flying over in a light aircraft. Then after trekking up to it, I had to lie flat on the ground when static electricity started flying around the crater. I managed to avoid the massive rocks being hurled into the sky but realised afterwards that the high sulphur content of the air was dangerously high.
Q. What is your most special wildlife encounter?
A. A whole group of very rare and critically endangered golden crown sifaka lemurs of Dairana Reserve in northern Madagascar clustered around me and were surprisingly curious and unafraid. The local fady (taboo) means they are not harmed directly by man, but indirectly by gold mining which is destroying their habitats.
Q. Have you had any spiritual moments?
A. During the Maulidi celebrations – Lamu’s own version of the religious festival commemorating the birth of the prophet Mohammed – this small Island off the coast of Kenya was crowded with thousands of people chanting praises to Mohammed each holding a lit candle in the utter darkness.
Have you seen the book? If not, take a look and see for yourself. Be sure to share your favourite Gerald Cubitt photograph with us.