May I Introduce: Kyle Weeks
June 4, 2019
Labels: On track, May I introduce
What are your main interests as a photographer?
I’d say my interests are rooted in the politics of identity and photographing people, particularly in the way that images have the ability to shape and preserve people’s identity. Over the past years I’ve looked closely at representation of the African body, referencing the historical visual language to make work that drives important dialogue on documentary photography as well as the ethics of representing difference. (via: FotoRoom)
“When photographs were still considered objective accounts of reality or truth, photographic bodies of work were readily accepted as the definitive synopses of entire cultures, and the image was given much more power than it actually has.” Though he does believe images are powerful in shaping ideas, Kyle thinks that today we, as modern consumers of photography, “are much more aware that images offer subjective half-truths, rather than a replica of reality as it plays out before the lens”.
Currently basing himself out of London and Amsterdam, he has been pursuing more fashion-based commissions, which he says is “an interesting platform” through which to “express his voice as a photographer and feel energised by collaborating with people who share his vision and want to create the best work possible.” Most recently, this has taken him to Ghana for French publication Le Monde, where he shot a special on the theme of women in power with in-demand stylist (and i-D’s fashion editor-at-large), Ibrahim Kamara. (via: It’s Nice That).
What have been the main influences on your photography?
My work is influenced by my own experiences in relation to those around me. My family’s enjoyment and appreciation of the natural world, mentors who have helped broaden my knowledge on the medium and friends whose interests shape my own. Then of course there’s music, books and the World Wide Web with its endless stream of inspiring photography.
Who are some of your favorite contemporary photographers?
I admire the work of so many. Rineke Dijkstra, Katy Grannan, Alec Soth, Viviane Sassen, Richard Renaldi, Jamie Hawkesworth and Mark Peckezian, to name a few. The list grows constantly. (via: FotoRoom)
What are your other current projects? I’m co-founder of Cape Collective Assist, which provides lighting and digital crews for stills shoots in South Africa. I’m also developing a portrait series in Cape Town with grass cutters and will continue my long-term project in Namibia shooting areas of interest and creating a narrative. I’m becoming interested in merging fact and fiction through photography and building new African identities. (via: Nataal)
“When I had previously photographed Himba people, I had inadvertently adopted a kind of fleeting, unfiltered touristic eye, characterized by the search for visual difference,” says Kyle. “I recognized that images of this culture were incredibly prolific, but that none that I had seen were contributing in any way to the documentation of their contemporary cultural identity. The rift between the representation and realities of these people became profoundly apparent.” Kyle sought to challenge the usual power dynamic between sitter and photographer with this set of portraits, allowing each of the men to control the shutter release. For the photographer this reduced his influence over the resulting images and allowed the me to portray their own identities for the camera. “In doing so we get to see these young men, as they want to be seen: traditional, contemporary and proud of whom they are,” says Kyle. “It calls for an end to preconceived visual assumptions, as the hybridisation of their culture no longer facilitates such a clear-cut distinction between traditional and contemporary cultural identity.” (via: It’s Nice That).