Updated: Jan 20, 2019
A stroll on a wine estate and a roll of Kentmere 100 film
Before I started shooting film or even knew that vast communities still shoot various formats of this dated medium, I stayed on a farm in a wine producing area close to Stellenbosch, South Africa. An old Cape-Dutch styled house on Nattevalleij Estate provided shelter for a couple of young blokes caught between varsity and adulthood, left alone on a farm to cultivate memories that would resonate as one of the best years of our lives.
The fact that the house was so old always bothered me - here's why. Firstly, sleeping in the main room of the house, which almost certainly should be home to the ghost of a Hugeunot whose soul never passed through purgatory, is quite scary by itself. Think of the history and generations of births, deaths, happiness, hardship, etc. that must have passed through these walls. Secondly, my grandmother told me a few years ago that our family origins could be traced back to Dutch settlers that started farming in the same area (Klapmuts, South Africa) in the early 1700's. This means that I could possibly be staying, centuries later, in the same physical home as my ancestors. The mere thought of this sends chills down spine.
Nattevalleij, which is translated as "wet valley", is a feast for the senses. Morning sun shines through the branches of wise Oak trees and cast light on what seem to be ever-present dewdrops scattered across the vegetation. Birds singing joyously as they fly by and buzzing bees give the farm an all-year-round feeling of springtime. Lighting a fire on a late afternoon with friends, hearing the wood crackle and hiss. Pouring a glass of Cinsault, a red wine cultivar that is bottled on the farm, almost pulls all of these sensory experiences together in one sip.
This was the last roll of film I shot on my Canon AE-1 before I decided to sell it and join the Nikon family (for now). I decided to take a Black and White film with me for my stroll on the farm as I wanted to create images as timeless as the farm itself. It was a bit overcast that day and did not effect the roll of Kentmere 100 as much as it would have it's Kodak Ektar 100 color counterpart. The farm boasts mountainous landscapes with various species of game and bird life. There is also a large dam in the middle used for movie sets, fishing and general laying around in the grass and having a picnic sort of activities.
A basketball court discovered one afternoon between the trees that was built to scale for a movie set was our playground. No one actually knew the rules of basketball, but the universal laws of "traveling" and "fouls" accompanied by the difficult, yet rewarding three-pointer, were respected amongst the crew. The screams of a three-on-three game could be heard echoing through the eucalyptus trees and often disturbed the peace. We were always followed by the pack of farm dogs and being a bunch of mutts ourselves, we let them come along.
Strolling past the house I reminisce of a time that seems long passed. Feelings of overwhelming nostalgia surge through me as I peek over the unkept hedge to see that the house is once again occupied by people that if you should ask them, would not have stories much different from ours. If only I could walk into that house again and ask those walls to talk, imagine what they would say.
All photos were taken by me and are left unedited.
Shot on a Canon AE-1
Photographs by Carl van der Linde
Story by Carl van der Linde