It had been a depressing day yesterday. I'd spent the afternoon visiting a very rich person who wanted me to see his new apartment. He'd never worked in his life, receiving vast inheritances and trust funds. I went home feeling poor, and wondering at how some people work so hard, yet others do nothing. I thought that life must be meaningless without work and purpose; in a way I felt sorry for my wealthy friend. This morning, I was shown the other, much nicer and more humbling side of the coin when I met one of South Africa's few remaining violin makers, Pragasen Reddy, aged 73. He lives in a poor suburb in a very modest house, and his car is parked outside - that's because his workshop is his garage. Pragasen's father had met master violin maker Amon Bilmark in 1952, when the trade still prospered. Bilmark had offered Pragasen a job, to dust the workshops in his store at the sum of £1 a week. Pragasen didn't care much for dusting, and one day when Bilmark, his boss was out, he experimented with some of the violin parts and carving tools he had been eyeing for the last few months. You have to understand this in context : in apartheid South Africa of the 1950's, Blacks and Indians did hard manual work, whites did all the so-called skilled jobs. Bilmark returned suddenly and caught young Pragasen at work with wood and tools. But, he wasn't angry; he had grown to be fond of the young man and had been watching him over the months. He trained Pragasen over the years which followed in every aspect of violin making and the two built up a close relationship. But, the old South Africa would not easily tolerate these friendships openly. When white customers arrived for orders or repairs, Bilmark would hurry Pragasen out to the back of the store, because it was then unheard of that "non-whites" would do this sort of skilled craft. Eventually, Bilmark died and Pragasen continued to make and repair violins, which he still does today, using time-worn, old fashioned skills, handwork and what he calls a labour of love from the heart. Today, the demand for violins in South Africa is small; the few that he makes are usually sold overseas. One day, one of the few remaining violin makers in South Africa will have strung his last bow, and another human story consigned to history. All pictures with the D2H and 17-55, all natural light. The D2H is like fine film in natural light, with lovely grain. Still life with letter from Amon Bilmark to Pragasen Reddy's father. written in 1953 Bilmark, writing to Pragasen Reddy's father says in this letter that he is as proud of the young man as if he were "my own son" and that he has a fine character and a love of the work. Still life - Pragasen Reddy in the 1970's with violins in Bilmark's workshop, taken in his own workshop, 2005 Old photographs, Amon Bilmark in front, Pragasen Reddy behind Pragasen Reddy, aged 73, in his workshop, 2005 Still life, Violin carving by hand, 2005 All the carving and shaping is done by one hand, that of Pragasen Reddy The tools of the Master, 2005 The hand of the Master craftsman, 2005 Each piece is signed, Violin by Pragasen Reddy, 2005 Violin, Pragasen Reddy's Workshop, 2005 Hanging Violins, Pragasen Reddy's Workshop, 2005 Violin neck as a Swan, Pragasen Reddy's Workshop, 2005 Music Certificate 1956, faucet and Press Cuttings from 1961, Worshop wall, 2005 Pragasen Reddy in 2005 with his very first violin, made in 1953 "Bilmark inspected my first violin with a magnifying glass, but he was very pleased, " says Pragasen "That was 52 years ago!"