Self taught photographer, Lindsey Appolis, was born an inquisitive little bugger – always quietly observing. Scrutinizing everything. Whether it was watching his gran making guava dessert for Sunday lunch; or being glued to the TV (so much so, that he was labelled “TV Kop”); or hanging out on the street corners. For our blog, we asked Lindsey to share with us his fondest childhood memories, how he became a photographer and what makes him super proud to be a local.
Lindsey says growing up in Bridgetown, Athlone, was like being part of a real life TV show. “It was overwhelming and colourful. From the lovers on the corners smooching at sunset; the vagrants stumbling with their haversacks on their backs filled with quart bottles; playing soccer in the street with my friends until we couldn’t see the ball anymore or the neighbours shouting blue murder with rollers in their hair. I distinctly remember feeling like I wish I could capture these moments. I loved to observe! I just took it all in – not knowing how it would benefit me later”.
Lindsey and his brother, lived with their grandmother whom they referred to as Mama. They dubbed her house as luxury central as it was the hub for all major family activities. “Our family celebrations were filled with food, drink and much laughter. You’d have two barmen making sure everyone had a drink to ensure the mood was always festive. The kitchen was tiny and I had a big family. Yet, we’d spent quite a lot of that time celebrating within the kitchen itself. The kitchen, was where all the action took place (it was also what was dictated by my grandmother)”.
It was Lindsey’s mom however who was the cook of the house. She always took her time (in a good way), preparing each meal. Lindsey remembers his mom’s “very special occasion Leg of OMG Lamb” with much, much fondness. “ I recall Sunday nights, on the special occasions, when she made her famous Leg of Lamb. As youngsters, it was our duty to go to the shop to buy fresh white bread (you must always ask the Bai for the freshest). Back home, she slapped a piece of meat on the thickly butter spread bread, drenched in Mayo, and you’d go for gold”.
No longer the curious Cape Flats boy hanging out in his gran’s kitchen drooling over those home-cooked meals, we asked Lindsey where his favourite hangouts are these days. Without much hesitation, he says; “When it comes to cuisine, my favourite hangout is home, where my spectacular wife makes the most amazing variety of curries (because she’s great like that). And when she feels lazy, it’s Bibi’s in Wynberg without a doubt. I love how Cape cuisine pulls its inspiration from all over meaning we, as locals, are extremely spoiled for choice thus the list of hangouts can be endless”.
Listening to Lindsey’s childhood stories, it justifies his photographic style with much clarity. Raw and filled with much emotion. Each image telling a unique story of its own. One would naturally assume that it was observing the animated street scenes that steered him in the direction of choosing photography as a career. This transformation however, happened roughly 7 years ago when his son was born. Lindsey never had any baby photographs of himself and didn’t want his son to experience the same. Thus, he decided to invest in a camera. He captured his son’s everyday activity. This resulted in Lindsey absolutely loving being behind the camera. He says; “The world finally made sense to me from my viewfinder”. Since then, he’s been shooting an array of street, fashion, fine art and documentary photography which all filters into the commercial work he does today.
What makes this home-boy absolutely proud to be a Capetonian? Smilingly Lindsey explains; “We live in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and we have some of the friendliest people. There is an abundance of “gees” (spirit). Cape Town moves at its own pace, being a lot more laid back than the rest of the country. On a personal level, and a big contributor to why I shoot the way I do, is when I go back to my old neighbourhood, I still feel the same sense of community I felt when I was a kid. I can walk into anyone’s home, sit down and have a neighbourly chat. It’s that sense of “family” that makes me proud to be a Capetonian”.
Blog on Lindsey Appolis compiled by Lizar van Reenen
VIEW MORE OF LINDSEY’S WORK AT https://www.behance.net/appster30