Category: Interviews and Articles

Marlene goes through the full ‘Full Circle’

Photographing the beauty of nature for the past 44 years, East London-based fine art photographer

Marlene Neumann is showcasing more than 150 images in her latest exhibition titled Full Circle.

Having opened on November 3, the exhibition, run in conjunction with the Ann Bryant Art Gallery, takes place at Neumann’s Vincent-based Centre for Photography and Light.

While full circle can mean a variety of things to different people, for Neumann, 58, this exhibition represents the cycle of her life.

Inspired by “Everything in nature works in cycles, everything goes full circle and so do we,” said Neumann.

“I can feel myself getting older, and slowing down a bit, I can feel my life coming full cycle.

“Right now in my world I’ve been working with an editor in UK and have been publishing books.

“The most recent is titled A Dance with Life and my next one should be out in February. So all my work will be in books now and this is partly where the inspiration for putting together this exhibition comes from,” she explained.

Featuring photographs from the beginning of her career to her latest work, the exhibition boasts the wonders Neumann has had the pleasure of capturing over the years.

“The photographs are predominantly from South Africa but also from Namibia, Paris, Florence and other travels.

“It’s photographs taken in the moment. Throughout my career I’ve photographed things that others didn’t see,” Neumann said.

“I think people miss a lot of life because they’re not looking. These pictures showcase nature and the land we walk, mother Earth in a way, I think, many may not have looked at it before.

“On show will be some of my earliest original photographs using my unique black and white darkroom process which creates one of a kind fine art photographs.

“Essentially the exhibition is inspired by everything that I’ve done, with a clear emphasis on nature.”

“You’ll be taken on a journey through the joy of soul photography, seeing the beauty of the rhythm of life through nature.”

Popular works from her darkroom collection including Witsand, Journey Home, Roadside Baobab,

Downstairs Door to Forest Walk and The Wisdom of the Elephants will also be on display.

“There will be a mixture of dark room and digital work as well. In a sense that is also like a full circle process to me.”

She said putting this collection together had been a nostalgic process.

“I would often sit on the floor while preparing for the exhibition and not get any work done,” she quipped

“I’d just sit remembering the moments when I took and produced these images.

“It’s been a very soulful experience, putting this altogether. I see this exhibition as a celebration of my life as a photographer, and why not do it while I’m still here.

“And even though we don’t live forever, my photographs and books will. And that is really wonderful.

“I remember when I was younger I always wanted everyone to own one of my images.

“And now knowing that my photographs are all over the world, knowing that many who have left the

Eastern Cape or South Africa have one of my photographs to remind them of home brings me so much joy.”

She said she hoped all who visited the exhibition would feel a sense of connection to nature.

“Photography is magic to me, you capture a split second. I hope people feel that.

“I hope they leave with a heart that’s filled up. And that they feel that reconnection to nature, feel a compassion for nature.

“There is a big variety of images on show and I hope people take time and sit and go through them and reflect.”

The exhibition runs until November 10 from 10am-3pm at the Marlene Neumann Centre for Photography and Light at 8 Kent Road, Vincent.

Fine art photographer shares pearls of wisdom with Gqeberha


LIFE LESSONS: Fogarty’s Bookshop owner Teresa Fogarty, left, and fine art photographer and East London inspirational speaker Marlene Neumann

Established Eastern Cape fine art photographer Marlene Neumann held an exclusive reading in Walmer of her recently launched book, A Dance with Life.

The event at Fogarty’s Bookshop gave a remarkable insight into her unique journey of dabbling in and developing a black-and-white darkroom process.

With an enthralled audience sitting back and eager to listen, the reading on Thursday offered key lessons to inspire new thinking based on nature and spirituality.

The East London inspirational speaker shared her personal and deeply philosophical offering on her first stop of a book tour in the city.

A donation drive added extra excitement to the evening as guests donated dog food in large quantities for charitable aid in Gqeberha.

The nature photography vet of 40 years, whose previous experience includes heading the art and design department at an SA Technikon, said people yearned for new experiences.

“The response from Gqeberha was beautiful and overwhelming,” Neumann said.

“People are hungry for this kind of vulnerability and rawness, and to bring it into their daily lives by opening themselves up to a new way of living.

“Many said they wanted me to come back and hold a few workshops.”

Traumatic and life-threatening circumstances in her life awakened in Neumann the importance of savouring each moment.

This deep appreciation through her own experiences allowed the audience to be transported on a gentle journey of self-understanding.

“This is what we need in society — just how to go forward in a new way of being,” she said after launching A Dance with Life, her third book, three months ago.

“A Dance with Life, like [the previous two books], is based around my photographs and, more specifically, about peeling back the layers of our own emotions through the photographs.

“It’s another way of being and feeling and giving people permission to be vulnerable.

“Busy, ordinary people want to learn a new way of life and it is time.”

On the donations, which brought in more than 100kg of feed which Save-A-Pet in Greenbushes will distribute at an informal settlement in Kuyga, Neumann expressed her keen love for dogs.

This, she said, was a testament to a project she runs focusing on sterilisation in East London’s informal settlement areas.

“The Buckaroo Sterilisation Drive serves as a fundraising and awareness initiative primarily focused on the welfare of animals.

“In the last five years, I have had 2,500 dogs sterilised by managing to get international funding.

“Wherever I go for the book readings, I will always collect dog food for a local dog charity.”


Read the article in PDF format

Book Chats with Salomé

I was blown away by this book review by Salomé – I just had to share it with you!


A Dance with Life by Marlene Neumann

We often meet our life teachers in unexpected ways. So it was for me when I met Marlene Neumann, Master Fine Art Photographer, spiritual teacher and the author of A Dance with Life at her Centre for Photography & Light, which happens to be next door to where my brother lives in the suburb of Vincent, East London.

As a photographer since the age of fourteen, Marlene dedicated her life to this art. She developed her skills to become one of the best fine art photographers in South Africa and gained international recognition for inventing her unique black-and-white alternative darkroom process. Through her photography, she found her connection with nature and the stillness within. Today, her photographs, inspirational talks, and creativity workshops have the power to shake and move an audience emotionally.

In her book A Dance with Life, she invites the reader to join her in a dance to nature’s rhythm. As Marlene writes in her introduction, the book tells of how she dances with life – sometimes waltzing, other times fox trotting or doing hip-hop, or just sitting out and watching others dance on some days. She uses beautiful images in the book to reflect the various insights nature has revealed to her as she dances through her life, allowing her readers to explore their own lives in order to heal and transform.

Reading her book was like a much-needed refresher course, confirming all the principles of my own belief system but packaged visually in a new way that is enticing, easy to read, and easy to understand.

This autobiographical compilation of her personal journey (or dance) through life is supported and illustrated by her photographic images (38 breathtakingly beautiful works) and filled with philosophical insights and valuable life lessons. I gobbled it up, savouring some passages like a treasured sweet in my cheek and returning to some to satisfy a craving, repeatedly rereading and reviewing her wise insights.

As Marlene rightfully says, we spend our lives searching for things outside ourselves to complete or make us happy, while all we need is to connect to what is inside us. In A Dance with Life, she not only shares the lessons she has learnt on her own journey through hardships and sorrow but also offers sage advice on how, by changing one’s focus, you can find freedom and, with that, the rhythm to dance with life.

I loved this book so much, and while I would like to share it with many others, I would also like to keep it close so I can revisit it often.

Walking Yourself Home

Walking Yourself Home – some thoughts from a recording session for my new book! Would love to hear your thoughts.

There is a state of being that you reach. We have a concept, we have an idea in our minds of what spirituality is.

We are all on different levels of Karmic experiences.
I know I have come here to show people what a beautiful world we live in. And how beautiful we are inside and out. We struggle with ourselves, our emotions, our minds.

Love Marlene

Word of Mouth Lindi Tshabangu & Marlene Neumann

What a privilege to be interviewed by Lindi Tshabangu, host of entrepreneur show, Word of Mouth.

Lindi shares my story of ‘selling memories’ and encouraging people to be true to themselves.

#Entrepreneur #WordOfMouth #LindiTshabangu #Podcast #ebizradio #thevoiceofnature

Story of Hope

For those that would like to hear my story. Channel 7 ‘Story of Hope’ Landbou Joernaal, I was interviewed by the lovely Ina.

Marlene’s journey will open you up emotionally and spiritually.
You will learn how to access parts of yourself that have
been hidden using her unique processes and teachings.

“Everything I teach I’ve learnt and experienced in my life. I want to share my gifts with you to guide you through your own transformation of seeing life through your new lens. ” – Marlene

Hope you can listen to our interview…  a very personal story that I am sharing to reach people and give them hope.

Love, Marlene

Local Hero nomination for Marlene & Buckaroo Team

Marlene and her Buckaroo Team have been nominated for the Daily Dispatch and Johnson & Johnson Local Heroes campaign.

As Marlene says, “But it’s really amazing to see how much of a difference just a few passionate people can make.”

local hero is an ordinary citizen who selflessly does extraordinary work for their community. Daily Dispatch marketing manager Jennilee Peremore-Oliver said the Dispatch and Johnson & Johnson Local Hero Awards judges always looked forward to the unique nominations sent in each year and encouraged readers to nominate the people in their communities going the extra mile to help others.

“We are always looking for those unique stories; people who are helping others in unusual or special ways, because it shows that there is so much one can do to help our neighbours.

“We also look at the level of sacrifice the people have made to help their communities. These are just two of the characteristics that help nominees stand out,” said Peremore-Oliver.

Marlene and her Buckaroo team tirelessly work with the dogs and their owners. Educating owners and ensuring the welfare of dogs that are lucky enough to be part of the Buckaroo Sterilisation Initiative.

Read the article online

Photography and Spirituality Online Interview

An interview with me all the way from Australia!

Sigrid de Kaste is a bestselling author.And a Marketing consultant from Stickybeak Marketing

An inciteful chat around Photography and Spirituality. I have found the two inseparable. It has been my life’s work sharing this path.

I wanted to share the interview with you all.

Intimate interview with Lebo Mopeli

An intimate interview with Marlene by Lebo Mopeli on #SoulDive on Keith Ngesi Radio.

Lebo described Marlene as a author, designer, visionary, teacher, inspirational speaker, philanthropist and one who sees with the heart, forever in love with life and nature. Listen in for a close up!

Lebo spends time with Marlene asking questions that add to our appreciation and understanding of what makes Marlene the amazing woman that she is.

Life experiences shared and many life lessons to be heard and learnt from.

Take a moment to listen. There is always something to be learnt.

Celebrating Life Through a Lens

Marlene’s work has been featured in the January edition of SAFAIR In Flight Magazine.

“Neumann’s collection is vast and covers a range of subjects such as landscapes, her travels, wildlife and more. One specific range that is close to her heart is her black-and-white range­­ – a collection of provocative, striking and powerful imagery. ‘Fine art photography is about emotion, intuition and connection,’ she says. ‘I am interested in the spirit, the essence of the subject, not the colours. I want the message t has for me to be seen by the world. Back in the day I would never speak freely about the subject, I had to guard what I said or I would not be taken seriously. Things have changed. I believe that the world is seeing that things have to be integrated, the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual. Black-and-white allows for all this. Colour can be a distraction.’ “

Read the full article here

Back to top