On hurt and hope: Photographer Liam Volschenk explores the idea of community

“I want to say my aesthetic is neutral. I always look at my subjects with a fair eye,” says 20-year-old artist Liam Volschenk about his work. The Cape Town-based photographer has a talent for taking striking yet tender documentary portraits.

Liam, according to his site, “takes an intimate look at the notion of culture and community, while exploring themes of hurt and hope. Volschenk uses his work to confront the idea of vulnerability”.

“I enjoy taking photos of so many different things but for the moment I’ve been immensely drawn to people. There are so many things that might lure me to a certain subject. I mean I could just be driving down the road and see the way someone is standing, and I may want to photograph them because of their posture. I guess over time I have slowly come to realise what I am drawn to. I have always thought that this attraction can say a lot about a person,” he explains. 

Willem and Steve, Cambridge.

How he goes about conceptualising a shoot is a lengthy process. “A new project always starts with a considerable amount of research, before any photographs get made I think it is vital to immerse yourself into the projects intricacies. This way you approach the project with as much integrity as possible.

“Also, before starting a new project, I like to start with a shot list, a list of things that I would like to photograph for a project. Sometimes I can feel a bit lost when I don’t have anything specific to search for. But the list is never something that defines a project. It is a starting point, something to get me involved with my surroundings,” the young artist explains.


Ammaarah, Cape Town

He sites seminal local and international artists as sources of inspiration. “Gosh, there is so much that inspires me, music, writers, artists, poets, philosophers, my surroundings.” He continues, “To name a few, locally I have been greatly inspired by the works of Nico Krijno, Dave Southwood, Mikhael Subotzky, Pieter Hugo, David Goldblatt and Jason Larkin. Internationally, I find great inspiration from the likes of Alec Soth, Broomberg and Chanarin, Gregory Crewdson, Taryn Simon, Martin Parr and  Larry Sultan.”

At the moment Liam is working on an ongoing project titled Three Sisters. To see this series and more of his work take a look at his website


Dawie, Knysna.

Shakes, Cape Town.

Plettenberg Bay.

Arno & Marie, East London.

Mike, Muizenberg.

Hex River Valley.

Carol, Cambridge.

Between 10 and 5