On Being a Sidekick

Being a parent sucks.

Your “me time” packs it’s belongings into a spotted handkerchief, attaches it to the end of a suitable stick and heads for the sunset without a backward glance. Hangovers are not really an option anymore, weekends are dominated by Barney and jumping castles and you can try and dress like a scruffy teenager but there is no denying adulthood when a person a third of your height is accompanying you everywhere. And there is more..but let’s fast forward to the part when you realise that it’s not all that bad:

The thing is, when you have shed a tear over the grave of all the cool stuff you have had to let go of, suddenly you start to realise how incredible that little human sidekick that you have created is. You are reintroduced to what it is like to have an imagination without boundaries. Every bug that crosses your path holds potential for wonder and amazement. Every mundane task stands a good chance of being considered for analysis and explanation. The issue of favourite colours, superheros, flavours, days of the week and people is readdressed regularly. You are really forced to start looking around and appreciating where you are and what you are doing there. And its awesome! And I mean that like non parental teenagers mean it, with exclamation mark and all.

Charlie is our incredible little 4 year old sidekick. Max (who is almost 2 months old) was recently introduced to the team, but he is still in the development stages of becoming a sidekick where interests are limited to a handful of basic needs including milk and sleep. Not to worry.. we know that there are great things to come, and his older sister is itching to show him the way. In the meantime Charlie will deliver plenty of moments of wonder into our lives. The other day she wandered into our bedroom at 5:30 am, flung open the curtain to a multicoloured sunrise and with great excitement announced, “Dad, dad! Wake up! It’s today!” There was nothing special happening that day, unless you saw it through Charlies eyes. It just needed to be “today” to be worth getting excited about. Sometimes I suspect that it is not Charlie who is the sidekick at all.

So, feeling like “today” needed to be grasped with two hands and for something different and fun, I popped down to the beach with Charlie before school. I wanted to take some photos that captured some of that beautiful character. It was a storybook sunrise in Salt Rock. And all that’s needed for a good shoot is a great subject, a great location and someone to press the button. 

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New Year, New Mag, New Life


I am bunking this afternoon.

My photo editing “to do list” is looking for me and I am just not taking her calls. I know it means that I will have to go in over the weekend and do some catch up, but screw it, how often do you get to sit at home while the rain pours down on a drought stricken province. I even made some calming Vanilla Chai and I may even put on some Buddhist temple music while I enjoy this moment and reflect on 2015 and 2016.

What a year 2015. There were a lot of highs, a lot of lows, but mostly just a whole bunch of life that squeezed itself into too short a time.

Right now the end of the year is where my brain is resting so lets start there:

I arrived back in Ballito at the end of December, raced into the Lifestyle center and greedily helped myself to a few copies of a magnificent new magazine that launched  while we were away. Of course I am biased.. as the cover pic for Luxe Magazine was shot by yours truly during a shoot we set up with one of the legends of South African Sport. The Men’s Canoe Marathon World Champion Hank MacGregor, his wife Pippa and son Thor met us on the Salt Rock main beach at sunrise for an epic shoot which resulted in a front page image that matched the tone of this high end and classy looking publication.

Without going into detail, Hank is a Machine in the Canoeing World, (with a capital M, just trust me on this,) but it was quite nice to see the other family side of him. He and Pippa (who is also an athlete, a trail runner who is branching out and busy setting up her first Comrades Marathon) just enjoyed the beach at sunrise with their son in a very relaxed and natural way. Pics below:



Thanks to some amazing clients and friends I managed to organise a few trips to Angola, Kenya and JHB in spite of a crazy end of year shooting schedule. The assignments that took me there were varied and awesome, and allowed me to explore for fun and for business. Of course, once they were done I appreciate home and family on the far side of the trip. Here are a few pics from the adventures:


In November I also shot for another sports biography book which hasn’t launched just yet, (I will brag about that when it does 😉 ) but I believe our last sports novel subject Chad le Clos is still firing on all cylinders in the pool which is quite lekker.

Earlier in 2015 I blogged about the launch of Hello Tomato restaurants, and they are getting rave reviews on Zomato and other social media, so that too is cool, and the Architecture shoots keep getting more interesting. Here are a smattering of the properties that I had the privilege of covering:


But what about the last part of the title to the most action packed blog update ever? The new life bit? Welllll… good news! The Allan clan added a new member. Max was born! Tada!


Yup.. I am a dad again and this time to a boy. So that should mix things up a little. Bring on the good times.. and may we smile and… sigh through the 3 am bad times.

chopsticks and max


Beauty Session in Studio

Today is the day we hand over the keys to the studio that has seen both Chris Allan Photo, and Peppermintpix grow a few hundred percent in the last 2 years. Although it is fantastic to move into our new home studio, we will miss the everyday interaction with the retailers and restauranteurs, the hairdressers and framers and art galleries of The Quarter, our little shopping centre behind the Dubai themed Lifestyle centre that draws most of the Ballito traffic.

One of the coolest businesses there  is Cafe Barber where beautiful women cut men’s hair while we watch sport, or the 80’s specials on VH1.  The company is great, the cuts affordable and the employees were sometimes lured across  to the little studio opposite for a portfolio shoot.

Tyler was kind enough to help me out with a few ideas I have had for a beauty/portrait shoot. We messed around with make-up, lighting and some simple props for a couple of hours and these are the final images…



Reversed music

Photo portrait

Dark thoughts

Nikon Flagship…Its ours.

Nikon Flagship D4

It has been a crazy year.

When Em and I returned from India a few years ago, with dreams of earning a living from photography, we were scratching around for a job a week, and had set up an office in our bedroom. A couple of weeks ago, I realized that it worked out that I had been shooting a job every second day, including weekends for about 3 months running.

During this last year  we had a beautiful baby girl, Charlie, and have started building a home and studio in an Eco Estate on the North Coast of South Africa.

The cherry on the top (photographically speaking) was the purchase of the beautiful creature in the image above.

This will allow us to provide even better quality imagery for our customers, and with better low light capabilities and a machine gun fire frame rate, no perfect moment is safe!

Click here for a fun “On location shoot” with the D4 and Joe McNally, some classic moments.