In South Africa, street style photography as we know it really began with Nontsikelelo Veleko. During her studies at the Market Photo Workshop between 1999 and 2003, Veleko started to photograph young locals she spotted dressed in interesting outfits. Soon this became a focus and resulted in her core work; a depiction of South African street style through the years entitled ‘Beauty is in the Eyes of the Beholder’.
While trends come and go, Veleko captured individual expression – rather than purely what was “fashionable” at the time – and this remains the essence of street style and those who photograph it. Looking at Veleko’s photographs and considering visits in recent years from international street style photographers like Facehunter and The Sartorialist, it’s made clear that SA has something unique to offer on this front, as does the work of local creatives like Trevor Stuurman and Chris Saunders who regularly snap street style.
To find out how, or whether, the genre of street style photography has evolved over time and to highlight the similarities and differences in what’s being photographed, we’re taking a look at Veleko’s photographs next to the expressive statements South Africans make with their clothing today.
Check out Billy Monk’s iconic 60s nighlife photographs vs. the SA club scene today, and see the rest of Photography Month on 10and5.