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I was requested by mommam to post the story behind this photo. I hope you can read it because its copied and pasted from a Word document.


Right here we go.

The year was about 1998-1999 and I still took my photos in colour slide format. We were living in Bloemfontein, South Africa, which is about 1000 km from Hawston (near Cape Town), where this photo was taken. Now Hawston is a very pretty little fishers village, but very poor and its inhabitants made a living from fishing.

We had a holiday home in Hermanus at the time. This is a bigger town about 10 km from Hawston with beautiful beaches. We use to go down there for holiday each December (our summer). I would take my camera every morning and drive around till I find a nice spot to take some photos (and there were many such places). That particular morning I decided to go to Hawston and watch the fishermen bringing in their catch of the day. It was about 8 am on a cloudy morning. As I was wondering around, I saw this guy with this young girl on his lap sitting against a brick wall, waiting for his mates to come. I politely asked him whether I could take some photos of them and he immediately agreed. What caught my attention immediately was the sadness in the eyes of the little girl. I did not know them from a bar of soap of course! I also took a lot of other photos of the fisher boats and sea as well.

Back home in Bloemfontein I had the photos developed and was amazed by this particular photo. and dubbed it "Fisherman's Daughter". Now, KODAK had a website at the time where you could send your photos in and compete for the "photo of the day" competition. I decided to have "Fisherman's Daughter" scanned and sent it in and forgot about it. About a week later I received an e-mail from KODAK informing me that my photo was selected as the photo of the day and that it would feature on their billboard on Time Square! I was stunned!! Unfortunately with upgrading and crashes, all correspondence with KODAK got lost. Fortunately the color slides were all scanned to a CD and I manage to still have it.

My wife and I moved down to Somerset West, which is just about 80 km from Hawston. I decided to upload all my old slide photos to my computer one morning. While I was busy doing this, I came across the Fisherman's Daughter. I just mentioned to my wife I wondered what happened to her. Is she still in Hawston?, attending school? or what. By this time she should be a teenager of about 14 years. My wife suggested that I write a letter to a local newspaper and inquire about her. I just immediately did that. You won't believe it, but the very next morning I got a call from one of the newspaper representatives wanted to know more behind the photo and the story and wanted me to send her a copy of the photo. I then told her everything and she promised to follow it up. The next morning there was the Fisherman's Daughter in the paper with the full story. About an hour later I received my first phone call from a relative giving me all the detail! Her name is Datin Burgess and she and her parents, one sister and a brother still lives in Hawston and she is attending high school. I immediately came in contact with the mother and told her the story. She was a but reluctant in the beginning whether to believe the story, or not! I couldn't blame her of course!

At last we arranged a re-union at a restaurant half way to Hawston and the whole Burgess family were invited. The dad couldn't make it unfortunately because he was working. My wife and I with a friend of my wife met up with them and we had a very nice time. After breakfast we went for a "follow-up shoot". Oh yes, I had the original printed and framed and gave it to her. As you can see, she is such a lovely, spontaneous young lady now, with a sparkle in the eyes rather than a sad look!

That's the story of the "Fisherman's Daughter" from KODAK billboard back to Hawston South Africa as Datin Burgess the beauty queen!

Thanks for sharing

André Barnard

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Comment by Robert Davis on September 7, 2014 at 7:08pm


Comment by Andre Barnard on September 6, 2014 at 10:23pm

Dear friend Robert

Thank you ever so much for your kind and philosophical words on my story of Datin Burgess, the "sad-eye" youngster and the new brilliance of being a teenager stepping into the new adult world. This experience of re-discovery the story was very enriching and I think being a medical doctor gave it that "something else"......??

Enjoy your trip to the land of the Azzuri!

Your friend


Comment by Robert Davis on September 6, 2014 at 2:40pm


WOW, what a powerful and rewarding story to share. The power of a photograph has been touted for decades and you have proved this with your story. Success comes in many forms and at those times when we least suspect. The family of the young lady should be proud of your taking the time to share with them the passionate pleasure you get being a photographer and sharing. I feel honored to have read your story and know in some small way that at s ome undisclosed point in my life your experience will come to fruition through my personal work. You're an inspiration to us all. Thank you for enriching my life.

Comment by kathy standley on February 7, 2014 at 3:52am

Thanks for sharing Andre amazing story and such a moving shot. Good to know those eyes are no longer sad.

Comment by Gerry O' Mahony on February 6, 2014 at 12:49pm

Wonderful story Andre, well told and yes indeed; the new photo shows a lovely bright young lady!  The original that you took is superb, it's like she is holding all the pain of the world in her eyes.

All the very best from Ireland

Comment by Andre Barnard on February 2, 2014 at 11:28am

Thanks everyone for your nice comments

Comment by Frances on February 2, 2014 at 9:50am

Lovely portrait full of expression and a beautiful face.  Excellent Image!

Comment by Joe Bradley on February 2, 2014 at 9:01am

A touching story and a fantastic image. You can see the sadness in her eyes.

Comment by Andre Barnard on February 1, 2014 at 8:48pm

Many thanks for the invitation to be a friend Jack, yes this picture and the whole story tough my heart 15 years ago and again 3 years ago. I appreciate your kind words


Comment by jack p baggelaar on February 1, 2014 at 12:10pm
Beautiful picture Andre filled with many emotions and the man face shows the love.i believe pictures like this only happen once in awhile and sometimes saw something in the little girls eyes that touched you and
Realized it when going thru you pictures later.thanks for sharing,great job.
Regards jack

Until Midnight!

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