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Zuid Afrika/South Africa
South Africa


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The Owl House
The Owl House is located in Nieu Bethesda, a small village with not even a single tarred road, near Graaff-Reinet in the South African Karoo. After in 1945 Helen Martins' (born 1897) relatives had all died, she started to embellish her house and garden with the aid of Koos Malgas, an itinerant sheep-shearer. When you try to imagine the reactions of her neighbors and fellow villagers to her work, your heart stops cold.

When Miss Helen at 78 got arthritic and started going blind, she committed suicide by drinking caustic soda.

The word ironic doesn't start to describe how the village now only still exists because of her. It would since long have been abandoned, were it not for the outside interest generated by Helen Martins' legacy. The house and garden are now cared for by the Owl House Foundation, which would love to get your help and support.

It's not only because I feel the photos are so great (even if I do) that I strongly recommend you take a good look at all of these. This woman's work is practically unknown and deserves much better. For some reason, I came out with my stereo camera all loaded and ready and, for once, a premonition was right. As tends to be the case with all my 3D work, I feel it doesn't look like anything when seen flat. Those things only stand out when viewed properly.
Farther down you will find some flat interior photos, where the light level was absolutely too low for 3D. Just to give you a taste.






























Helen Martins' creativity over-ran all boundaries. Physically, as well: She crammed every available square decimeter with her productions. Walls were 'papered' with glass beads. She must have loved the plays of light, structures and reflections.
spiral table
owl table


South Africa

Picture Book

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