South Africa’s breathtaking scenery and gorgeous landscapes really just lends itself to coffee-table photography books. Even if you’ve seen all the places and the people for yourself, experiencing South Africa through the eyes of a photographer, on lovely thick glossy paper, makes one feel really patriotic.
One can just imagine that Toto song “the rain being down in Africa” playing nostalgically in the background as you page through Michael Poliza and Friends’s book, South Africa. Published by teNeuses, it’s heavy and big enough to actually be a coffee table itself, but it does justice to the Rainbow Nation in all her complex diversity and awe-inspiring beauty.
It’s got the usual spreads of sun, sea, mountains, desert, wildlife, a pic that forces you to stare into the sad eyes of an old woman who has lived on the fringes of society all her life, and the “slice of life" township collection. Despite the predictability of the images, they’re all beautiful and make you think “wow, I live here!”
German-born Poliza was a child actor and prominent businessman before turning to photographer. His love for Africa is apparent from the number of photography books he has published on his trails around the mother continent. A substantial piece of text at the back of the book gives a run-down of contemporary South African history, probably aimed at the foreigner. This text is also translated into German, Afrikaans, French and Spanish. The friends of “Michael Poliza and Friends" include Vanessa Cowling, Chris Fallows, Justin Fox, Craig Fraser, Chris Kirchhoff, Mandla Mnyakama, Obie Oberholzer and Thomas P Peschak.