Faces of Sowetoby Mahala High Five Brigade / 11.12.2013
Five Johannesburg photographers were commissioned by adidas Originals to capture portraits of the people that unite Joburg. Each was assigned a neighbourhood and set out to the streets with their camera. We are giving you the chance to get to the know the men and women behind these five lenses. Today, meet Justice & Innocent Mukheli, who were sent to capture the portraits of Soweto.
MAHALA: Who are you guys?
JUSTICE AND INNOCENT MUKHELI: We don’t work alone as photographers, we only work as a trio (Vuyo Mpantsha, Justice Mukheli, Innocent Mukheli) “I See A Different You” not as individuals.
Have you lived in Joburg all your lifes?
How old are you guys and how long have you been shooting?
Innocent and Justice are 28, Vuyo is 24. We’ve been shooting for 2 years now.
Where did you learn most?
We are self-taught artists. We learn just from being curious and being close to those we looked up to, so that we learn from them.
What do you think of the City of Gold?
The city is amazing, just from having different people from all over the world makes it special and it is slowly becoming accesable to everyone.
How do you see yourself amongst it? Spectator? Participator?
We are part of the city.
What was your first camera?
It was a 7D we got from someone close to us as a birthday present.
What is your favourite thing to shoot?
We love shooting people and landscape.
What series are you most proud of so far?
Where in Joburg do you live?
We live in Benmore now.
Is that where you spend most of your time?
No, we are always running the streets.
How do you approach the people you want to be in your pictures?
We approach with a sinsiter smile and respect.
How do you make them feel comfortable?
We make jokes and have a conversation about things we think they could be interested too.
How many photos do you have up on your bedroom wall?
Who inspires you?
We are a Trio so we inspire each other in our differences and are aprouch to the things we want to do.
How have your photos evolved?
We always look at what the guys internationaly are doing and that help us aim to the world class level. And we believe in ideas so we make sure that our photos are idea driven, that way evey picture has meaning.
Black and white or colour?
Both server a different purpose, it depends on what we want to achieve with a photograph. We can’t chose one over the other.
What part of Joburg do you feel most at home in?
What street in the city would you choose to stand in, as a background for a portrait of yourself?
Which city do you feel drawn to (outside of Joburg)?
You guys like to be in your own photos right? Why?
We just found it easier to do it that way, cause we share the same passion for fashion.
How do you define your style?
We can’t really define it, but we just love mixing things from old school pantsula and urban style.
How did you find putting together your AREA3 collection?
It was fun and challenging cause we had to ask random people for a photo.
What is adidas Originals like to work with?
Its really cool to work with, it feels like we all friends with adidas clients.
What’s next for you?
Traveling a bit and completing our school photo project.
* The Unite Joburg Exhibition will be on at AREA3, 20 Kruger Street, Maboneng Precinct, until the 9th February 2014.
** Photos © “I See A Different You”, except last: two faces from the Justice & Innocent Unite Joburg Soweto portraits collection.