I SEE A DIFFERENT YOU

Is there always a prior epistemic awareness of a photograph’s time and place? Visual cues in the background may provide some hints. However, should that be the standardized guideline in each and every case? Justice Mukheli, Innocent Mukheli and Vuyo Mpantsha from Soweto, South Africa, collectively known as ‘I See A Different You’, break down this way systemic way of critiquing in their work, documenting all types of urban landscapes of South Africa and beyond, exemplifying the resistance towards anglocentric perspectives and backgrounds that may run through what is called ‘fine art’. The trio’s acute sense of framing and timelessness hasn’t been overlooked. They’ve recently done an exhibition in Tokyo to a warm reception as well as a campaign for Diesel + Edun.

So far, ISADY is experiencing a whirlwind of photographic success from the community and recently he trio took the time to answer some burning questions on Africa’s urban landscape and the intermingling of fashion and photography.

What sparked the beginning of ‘I See A Different You’?

When Innocent was in Kenya on work, he sent us a photograph of a guy on a motor bike. The guy looked so cool, we didn’t believe that the picture was taken in Kenya. That’s when we realized the beauty of Africa. That made us feel quite sad because we, as Africans, did not know of that. That’s when we realized that the world needs to know as well.

One could say that your photos are very similar to a family album portraying your day-to-day adventures in Africa. Would you say that this project has created an even stronger bond between you three?

Not really, because we all met at church 14 years ago and we have been closer than brothers ever since. Blood wouldn’t make us come any closer.

Given that you are the main subjects of your photography, who exactly is the other ‘ you’ we get to see as viewers?

We always blend in the environment because our photography isn’t all about us. We are there but we try not to be the main focus of the picture.

Africa has proven to be a great visual inspiration for your projects. Are there any particular aspects you wish to showcase but haven’t had the opportunity, just yet?

Yes we would really love to shoot all the ghettos of the world.

Fashion and style in particular are both very important elements to your work. How big of a youth/fashion scene is there in Soweto?

The youth fashion scene has grown a lot in terms of style. It definitely has its own direction now.

I SEE A DIFFERENT YOU

You were recently selected to participate in Studio Africa, a collaborative project organised by Diesel + Edun. How was this opportunity presented to you and how excited are you about it?

It’s been an amazing experience, to be alongside such talented people in the project as well as the people behind the Diesel + Edun campaign. We couldn’t believe how much work they put in to make the project. We got to meet everyone they are all, really great people.

You also had your first exhibition in Tokyo, a few weeks back. What has been the reception so far and what has this experience left you with?

It’s been too nice! Tokyo itself feels like a different planet it’s amazing! From the humbleness of the people to the buildings and not to mention the amazing effortless fashion, it truly has been a remarkable experience for all of us.

What’s next for the three of you?

We are currently working on several projects including some involving film and music.

I SEE A DIFFERENT YOU

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Via Chasseur.com

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