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HL Next Level 2019: Photographer John Baloyi

Not many photographers still shoot on film, but for John Baloyi, the handmade allure of analog is too romantic and dramatic to resist.

Illustration Stacey Knipe

John Baloyi | House and Leisure

Each year, House and Leisure creates a special feature that is all about up-and-coming South African creative talent. We look closely at the worlds of decor and design, and ask architects, ceramicists, product designers, artists, jewellers and photographers to tell us who we should be watching out for in their areas of work. 

Recent alumni of the Next Level list include fashion designer Rich Mnisi, photographer Zander Opperman and illustrator Karabo Poppy Moletsane, among many others. Check out the entire 2018 Next Level crew here.

The research phase of the work on this feature is followed by a discussion of precisely who we want to showcase – and why. This year, the team recognised that there has been a palpable return to the handmade recently, and so we wanted everyone who was featured to be someone who makes their pieces by hand.

From a textile designer to a jeweller and a chef, all the creatives included in 2019’s House and Leisure Next Level list do just that.

Photographer John Baloyi Is One Of Them

Not many photographers still shoot on film, but for John Baloyi, the handmade allure of analog is too romantic and dramatic to resist.

Capturing mostly portraits – sometimes of fashionable strangers in his almost-cinematic Johannesburg street-style photography; other times of his wife and muse Itumeleng Baloyi – his is a body of work that celebrates love and the way it makes people see the world.

The couple has formed an artistic duo called The Baloyis that aims to ‘portray people of colour as works of art’. They’ ve already created campaigns for brands like MRP, adidas and Bisquit Cognac, but the future, John Baloyi explains, is looking a little different to what he and Itumeleng are currently producing.

‘Working on those previous projects was special to me because I got to work with my wife and a small team of our closest friends, and we managed to put together really beautiful work,’ he says.

‘Now, we’ve shifted our focus to fine art and documentary photography. I feel that there aren’t enough young people shooting meaningful and intentional content, and we aim to breathe new life into this genre of photography.’

Watch Our Video Portrait Of Photographer John Baloyi Here:

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