Innercity Blues – Night

I got off the taxi before it got to the terminus one evening and wound up at the taxi rank just across the road from Bree. This I didn’t notice until I’d walked past ganja-scented corners, side streets decorated with the rush of peak hour traffic, and the pleasant surprise of running into an old crush. The lit-up space where the taxis are parked in the picture above is on the left hand side as one crosses the Nelson Mandela bridge into Newtown. It was taken on the tenth floor of a building in Braamfontein.

I’ve been going around central Johannesburg in an attempt to interrogate inner-city culture. I’m no closer to finding answers, but at least some decent snaps get captured in the process. Here are a few, with brief descriptions underneath. Enjoy!

001
Off at a tangent in Hillbrow

I’ve developed an obsession with shooting images from moving vehicles. This, I’ve found, introduces many challenges which make the photographic process more interesting. This picture was taken at the traffic lights on one of the streets running perpendicular to Nugget. As we turned into Market street (now Albertina Sisulu), we witnessed a man running on the tarred road. Further down, at the cross-section where Commissioner becomes a one-way drive, a man was single-handedly push-starting a white BMW – Gusheshes as they’re known in the hood. He succeeded in getting the vehicle to start, then sped off well past the second set of traffic lights before turning right. Another robbery…

000
Staring into oblivion

Someone told me a quote, something in the vein of “a photograph captures death.” In the context of the picture above, the subject will probably never possess that dejected expression again. After the brief moments it took to take this image, all contact was broken. I wanted to know more about his gold chain and facial tattoos. How old is he? How does he eke out a living? What’s his name, and where is he from anyway?

009
@bra_sol from Big FKN Gun

I own two copies of Big FKN Gun’s debut EP, “Pop models“. After months of delaying purchase, I bought my first copy at this year’s Back To The City festival. The second was a free gift on the day of the live performance pictured above.

032
Artist Isaac Zavale in Braamfontein

I recently met Isaac at NewArc Studios in Newtown. He is originally from Mozambique, but grew up in South Africa after his family fled from the Renamo/Frelimo in 1989. “I also use my own designed coat of arms which is a combination of South African and Mozambican culture. This symbolizes me as mixed culture” he says in this artist statement.

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