Henry James’s Portrait of a Lady is – along with Wings of the Dove – his most morally searching novel.
I have written substantial parts of my last two books at sea, much of them typing with one hand while clinging to the desk with the other, keeping a leery eye on the cabin window to determine which stage we were in the great oceanic washing machine cycle.
In the postwar period in Europe a strange fairground attraction emerged – the shooting gallery. All but defunct now, these booths lured punters with the prospect of shooting an air rifle, but not to hit a target and win a stuffed panda. The object was to take your own photograph.
We all know that great photographs can emerge as much from accident and luck as from precision and planning. Moments when everything seems to be conspiring to be observed by the camera are rare.
Photography is changing so quickly in the digital era, it’s hard to keep up. We tend to think of this as a technological phenomenon, but it’s also social and cultural.
‘Bush Midnight’ is an evolving body of work about the African bush. In the wilderness night has a different density to anywhere else. ‘Bush Midnight’ is a term that refers to the early nights in bushcamp: if you get up at 4.45am, then you go to bed at 8.30pm.
‘Bitter Pastoral – A Talk About the Cederberg’ is the title of an essay written by my friend Stephen Watson, a South African writer who died after a short illness in April 2011.