Rhodes clocktower: the first of the four landmarks

There’s a straight line of four landmarks that runs right through the middle of Grahamstown. At one end there’s the 1820 Settlers Monument on Gunfire Hill and at the other there’s the crown of trees on Makana’s Kop.  Down in the valley between them is the Rhodes clocktower and, beyond the Drostdy Arch, the Cathedral of St Michael and St George on Church Square.


The classic picture of the Rhodes clocktower is from the Drostdy lawns. My fisheye view is rather different as it’s looking straight up the clocktower from just outside the front door to Rhodes’ main building. The second view was taken last year from the steep hill on Somerset Street. The campus buildings are rising out of the smoke that was blowing into town from the big fires.

The tower in the smoke picture will be one of the many artworks auctioned at the Johan Carinus Annual Art Auction on 19 May. Contact Lizelle (046 622 4543) for tickets if you are interested in going.


Roddy is a self taught photographer whose first camera, a Zeiss Ikon, was bought in 1974 from a second hand dealer in Glasgow. Through the forty years since then, he's taken landscape photographs with Pentax, Olympus and FujiFilm systems for his teaching and research as a geography academic at Kenyatta and Rhodes Universities. He has always been inspired by great nature and landscape photographers such as Nick Brandt, Beth Moon, Obie Oberholzer and Hans Strand. Since taking early retirement he has been able to pursue his passion for photography, published a photobook ’Symmetry in Nature and held three solo exhibitions at the National Arts Festival, Grahamstown, South Africa. 

His landscape photography is about light: often at low angles, of forests, mist and clouds, the night sky and lightning. He prints on different media depending on the affects he wants to produce: brushed aluminium for reflecting angled light; Hahnemühle German Etching paper for soft diffusion; Ilford Metallic Gloss for vibrant night pictures.

His conceptual photography uses mirroring and merging of layers to explore patterns, motifs and the feminine in nature.