Translations | A Collaborative Photography Exhibition

exhibition poster 2

 

Translations is a collaborative exhibition between three photographers from Johannesburg and Pretoria – Jeff Rikhotso, Khumbelo Makungo and Lebogang Ditibane – who met through the photography website 75.co.za. The exhibition is an attempt at interrogating the meanings and complexities of our social dynamics. To find out more, we had the chance to ask each photographer about their own work and that which they are exhibiting.

 

Lebogang Ditibane

 

Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Lebogang Ditibane, I’m fine with being called Lebo even though I was nearly tempted to change my name to Borotho (Bread) after meeting a guy by the name of Witbrood because there were too many Johans already. Borotho is not happening by the way. Im a 26 year old business intelligence developer who’s madly into photography, hailing from Soweto but I’ve been a resident of Pretoria for some years now. Although, I just bounce here and there and everywhere around Gauteng really.

 

When and how did you get into photography?

Being from an IT background, I’m one of those dudes that suddenly realised the endless possibilities of what one could do with a computer when the exposure kicked in. I mean, I tried my hand at design, at music production and DJ-ing but they never really stuck as much as photography has. In a way, I probably have to credit Mosa Mahlaba for getting me interested in photography as well as 75.co.za which is where I got to meet the likes of Jeff Rikhotso, Khumbelo Makungo, Lee-Roy Jason, Mpumelelo Macu, Diaan and many more cool others. Some of the guys that have been a constant inspiration to probably where I am today with photography. Since then I’ve been largely shooting people-centric stuff, endeavouring to capture feelings in a candid manner.

 

What do you like most about photography?

I suck at drawing so photography is better! Kidding…I really love the story telling aspects of photography as well and the fact that people are able to express themselves both behind and in front of the camera. Sometimes its difficult for me to take a picture without thinking of a story for it beforehand. Most of the time, my photographs show how I feel at a particular stage in time or how I feel about certain things in life. If I want to smile inside, I go take a picture or if I want to make someone else smile I ask to photograph them. Really, photography equals happiness in my life.

 

Have you guys always wanted to have an exhibition together?

I’d say so yeah. I remember Jeff once pitched the idea to me last year of how we should collaborate and do this exhibition early in 2014. However we only started being serious about it from March or so, and 3 months later here we are.

 

Who curated the work that you are exhibiting?

Well, with the idea of kinda just showing people out there some of the stuff we do, we self-curated it. I can even go as far as saying it is quite experimental, I mean I’m pulling a Kanye over here. I know the stuff that I’m exhibiting for example, is something I haven’t done before but I’m doing anyway because I’ve been thinking about it for sometime now. There will come a time where a curator will step in for either a completely solo exhibition or more collabos to follow – collabos are always welcome.

 

 

Lebogang Ditibane

Lebogang Ditibane

Lebogang Ditibane 4

 

Khumbelo Makungo

 

Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

 

I am a ninja… just kidding. I am a digital designer by day and a photographer by night. Originally from Venda, Limpopo, I’m now based in Johannesburg. I don’t know anything about lightining except that it is tricky to photograph.

 

When and how did you get into photography?

Back in high school I needed to make some cash to buy myself a computer. I found one of those small Fuji film cameras at home (still don’t know who it belonged to) and started snapping away. I soon became the ‘go to guy’ for portraits. When I was in varsity I met Lebogang Nkoane who introduced me to 75.co.za (a daily collaborative photographic project). At the time I had no camera, so I started snapping and uploading photographs from my Nokia N95. That’s when I realized photography could be my second love, first love being design at the time. A couple of years after that I bought my first DSLR, a Canon 450D, and I haven’t stopped shooting since.

 

What do you like most about photography?

Being able to express myself creatively without having to open my mouth to say a word.

 

How did the exhibition come about?

If I’m not mistaken, it was master Jeff (well know as Jeff Rikhotso) who came up to me and Lebogang Ditibane with that idea of exhibiting some of our work together.

 

Did you guys collaborate on the photos or did each one of you shoot alone?

Most of the works were done individually, though myself and Jeff collaborated on some.  

 

Khumbelo Makungo 3

Ignite - Set Afire

Street Lights

 

Jeff Rikhotso

 

Can you please tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Jeffrey Rikhotso. I am a creative first, then a photographer. By day I am a layout artist slash graphic designer. I work in the brand space, which allows me to be relevant to my other passio of photography as I working with images requires a creative and intuitive mind.

 

When and how did you get into photography?

I got in to the space of randomly taking pictures by huge chance, but it was by no means an accident. I walked into a mall one day and had spare change, just right there and then I decided to buy a camera – which happened to be a Nikon D5000. Let’s say the rest has been an interesting as I had to teach myself how to operate it. Since then I’ve evolved as a photographer, learning about the craft and business side of things. I have since worked with some major brands like Palladium Boots, Kaya FM, Transnet etc to shooting some of Mzansi’s biggest events.

 

What do you like most about photography?

As cliche is this sounds, photography allows me to express how I feel. I enjoy photographing spaces and faces. Photography helps people remember how important certain moments in their lives are, but beyond that I enjoy being able to help clients/brands connect with their consumers. That is the most fulfilling thing about being a photographer.

 

Can you please tell us about the work that you will be exhibiting?

Myself, Khumbelo Makungo and Lebogang Ditibane are collaborating  on this exhibition. We are all passionate photographers with different styles and influences. We thought it’d be a great idea to collaborate and showcase our works through the same platform.

 

Was there a specific theme you guys wanted to follow for the exhibition?

The task of a photographer is to take ideas, concepts, experiences and sometimes beliefs from one’s immediate (real or imagined) environment and translate them into visual language. This process is both fascinating and complex and it goes beyond the mechanics of operation a camera. In doing so, not only does the job of a photographer raise questions about the limitations of verbal/textual language in communicating social and personal meanings of things we use as references in defining ourselves physically and at times emotionally as well as the spaces we inhabit.

 

Our mission was to bring to the audience’s attention things they are aware of in their everyday lives, but perhaps with a mirror to reflect on themselves. This exhibition is an attempt at interrogating the meanings and complexities of our social dynamics (real and imagined), gender, sex, spatial politics, and other wide range of provocative questions you may have.

 

While the overall theme of ‘Translations’ is admittedly pretty loose, it should assist anyone to find meaning or even contradictions in the pieces on show.

 

Jeff Rikhotso Jeff Rikhotso (3) Jeff Rikhotso (2)

 

Translations opened on the 26th of June and will run until the 2nd of July at Coast Studio in Newtown, Johannesburg.

 

3 Comments

  1. Congrats to the family! I wish I could be in JHB to support. Hey come show some stuff in Cape Town!!! Thank you for being an inspiration and my brothers! Word!

  2. Sydelle Willow smith

    Great Stuff Guys,
    wish I could be there!