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SA fashion photographers dominate Vogue’s image makers list

Get to know the local stars who have made the list of talents to look out for

03 August 2022 - 16:37
Postgraduate student and queer activist Belinda Qaqamba Ka-Fassie holds the Miss Drag SA title and is the force behind the #BlackDragMagic project shot in Khayelitsha.
Postgraduate student and queer activist Belinda Qaqamba Ka-Fassie holds the Miss Drag SA title and is the force behind the #BlackDragMagic project shot in Khayelitsha.
Image: Lee-Ann Olwage

South African fashion has made headlines often in the past couple of years. MaXhosa has wowed international costume designers, Thebe Magugu has turned heads as the recipient of the 2019 LVMH Prize and Palesa Mokubong's Mantsho was the first local brand to partner with H&M for its collaboration campaign.

However, the focus has now shifted to our photographers, with not one, but five of the country's best making Vogue's The Next Great Fashion Image Makers list.

Here's a crash course on these impeccable talents:

1. LEE-ANN OLWAGE

Focusing on identity and expression, Lee-Ann Olwage has won the Pride Photo and World Press Photo awards, among others. 

She uses video as part of her creations, having collaborated with drag artist Belinda Qaqamba Ka-Fassie on performance films challenging masculinity in the Xhosa culture.

2. CARL VAN DER LINDE

Apart from striking fashion photography, Carl van der Linde also takes his gaze to street, lifestyle and travel imagery.

Immersing himself in the environments he captures, Van der Linde often spotlights people and the places they call home. His work has featured in international publications, including DAZED, Die Zeit and Verve.

3. IMRAAN CHRISTIAN

One would assume that after facing backlash for blackface or appropriation it might be the end of your career, but for Imraan Christian it is part of the journey..

His images reflect his creativity and activism. In 2020 his image from an exhibition exploring the relationship between ancestral Africans and the cosmos was criticised for putting a light-skinned women in black makeup.

Another notable moment for Christian was documenting the 2015 student uprising. He has also worked with CNN, Unicef and Highsnobiety.

4. JODI BIEBER

Jodie Bieber explores the contemporary world we live in. She earned international acclaim in 2010 for an image of Bibi Aisha for Time Magazine.

Her poignant images often document people and topics that surround them, no doubt due to her days covering SA's first democratic elections. Her exhibition The Real Beauty gave women agency in how they should be portrayed.

5. AART VERRIPS

Aart Verrips' bold, beautiful images can easily be defined as the quintessential pictures of South African fashion. His striking aesthetic is best exemplified by his first solo exhibition at the Hazard Gallery in 2017, one which challenged masculinity.

Verrips has also made his mark as the go-to fashion photographer. He works with multiple international brands and captures stories threaded by local superstars such as Magugu, Rich Mnisi and Nao Serati.


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