10and5’s annual Grad Guide seeks to shine a light on some of the country’s most exciting creative graduates, and this year was no different – profiling emerging talent in the fields of photography, fashion, illustration, fashion and graphic design. To round the series off, meet five young South African photographers framing the world as they see it.
Sinead Mason describes herself as an esoteric photographer with a tendency of blurring her portraits, which are often layered with painterly filtered textures and curious happenings. Through her lens, she explores the symbolic border between the camera and the subject… mainly focusing on the human body, and presenting each portrait in black and white. “A lot of monochrome photography can emphasise contrast and sometimes even verge on being graphic. My work is the opposite: it’s soft and really plays with the grey scale between solid black and white,” she says.
Savanna Sinden’s curiosity around the functionalities of the human body, as well as our diversity as a species, has led her to engaging with this as a theme in her portraits. The Open Window graduate, who double majored in photography and illustration, intends to showcase the unusual before introducing the viewer to the “normal.” When asked to describe her style of photography, she says: “My photographic style has a Cubist quality to it as well as a repetition of chiaroscuro hues between the chaos. I think overall there will always be something feminine about each visual style I create.”
Johannesburg-based multidisciplinary artist Ranji Mangcu, who specialises in photography and videography, notes her mother’s photographic archive from the 80s to the late 2010s as her earliest memory of and interaction with the medium. Now, having completed her Bachelor of Fine Art degree the Michaelis School of Fine Art, Mangcu uses portraiture to engage with questions of identity – specifically, the role of the camera in the historical representations of identities and the contemporary consequences of this.
Filmmaker and photographer Abongwe L. Booi’s passion for visual language convinced him to abandon his business science degree in favour of something more expressive. The journey he is now on leads him in search of meaningful African stories and intimate moments, captured both in motion and, in the case of photography: an aesthetically-charged single frame. “My attention is drawn to exploring the effects of love, the effects of loss and the intricacies and complexities of the love found in a single moment. This is something I’ve found to reflect in all of my script writing and my work, and I thoroughly enjoying unravelling this internal and external dialogue,” he says.
Cape Town-based art director and photographer Sandra Nagel, who completed her studies at The Stellenbosch Academy of Design and Photography, specialises in analogue photography. She aims to celebrate, represent and empower women, queer and non-binary people as much as she can through her work. “I aim to make work that celebrates people, so I would say there is a feeling of happiness and joy that one feels when looking at the photographs. My photographs capture true beauty. Raw beauty. Authentic beauty,” she explains.