For the past decade or so I have photographed along the coastline of False Bay, which is part of the Cape Town Metropole.
The bay was named ‘False’ by early sailors who, returning to Europe from the East Indies and mistaking Cape Hangklip for Cape Point, confused False Bay for Table Bay. For me the name now evokes both places and states of consciousness that erroneously promise refuge – perhaps from the open ocean; or perhaps from existential or social realities. The protected coves and beaches of the bay’s western and eastern shores are characterised by scenic vistas, nature reserves and upmarket suburbs. By contrast, its windswept, sandy northern shore is home to the much poorer suburbs of the ‘Cape Flats’. A cross-section of South African society thus lives around the bay – yet distributed on an urban map that still traces the separate development priorities of Apartheid as well as its human and environmental cost. My approach to this project has been to avoid the lure of False Bay’s ubiquitous post-card vistas. I have instead sought out the qualified, unexpected type of beauty offered by the landscape seen as an inhabited place, reflecting both how things have changed and, of course, how they have not.