Three thousand, two hundred and fifty-six. That’s how many photos we’ve taken since we moved to South Africa in June 2011.
The vast majority are not worth mentioning, let alone displaying. Many reinforce the trite stereotypes of Africa: lions in the bush, children at school, life in shanty towns. Some capture universal moments: birthday parties, weddings, holidays. Others fill the frame with great natural beauty: mountains, beaches, sunsets. Some defy categorization, decline comment, dare to be defined.
With such a large, diverse collection, one might think that at least a few shots would rise to the top, like rich cream in a bucket of Du Plooy melk. Certainly, some do. Choosing the best 20 of more than 3,000, though, is a difficult task. Particularly when excluding our favorite safari photos.
That’s not to say that all of the 20 photos below are amazing, or that they don’t fall into the stereotype trap, or that my idea of a good photo isn’t biased by a memory of the moment, or that there were so many candidates to choose from. In fact, I think I narrowed the choices from an original 39, which I tried to pull from a wide range of experiences and travels. Even so, a quarter are from Ethiopia — an obvious overrepresentation of the two weeks we spent there in relation to our year in South Africa.
Long story short, the photos below may not be the “best” for any number of artistic, technical or other reasons, but I hope you enjoy them and vote for the one that stands out for you.
Some of the photos that didn’t make the cut live on my Flickr page.