hl next Level 2018: editor, writer and creative stefanie jason

Trevor Stuurman
Having worked on formidable titles including Mail & Guardian and Marie Claire, Stefanie Jason is now stepping into the photographic space. She’s busy with major research on black women photographers of the 20th century in South Africa, co-curating a photographic group show, and the creator of an Instagram account that will make you want to get in a van and travel the continent.

how did you get started?

I come from a family of activists, photographers and photojournalists. So naturally, I’ve gravitated to spaces that I’ve grown up in. My background is film, screenwriting specifically, and my work has been within the cultural and media industries. More recently I’ve started work within photography: I’m doing research in the photographic archive and am co-curating a photographic group show.

did you always want to be doing what you’re doing now?

I’ve always wanted to be in the arts. I’m a creative baby and I live to create, in my own way.

do you have particular favourites among the work you’ve created?

Not really! But my latest research around black women photographers of the 20th century in South Africa has been engaging me on all levels, intellectually and imaginatively. I think it’s such important work, to add to creating more visibility around these creative agents that have been ignored or sidelined from our photographic archive.

defining career moment to date

It’s got to be this year and going independent in terms of my career, and not working full time for a media house, like I have throughout my career. This year has afforded me such necessary space to dream and really do what I’ve needed to! So as challenging as 2018 has been so far, it’s proving my most fulfilling and fruitful year.

where do you find your inspiration?

Travelling, getting away. Instagram. Secondhand stores. Books.

what is your earliest visual memory?

Being in the Cape Flats, in Belhar, as a baby, that’s where my family lived when I was very young. And I remember seeing my older brother, Lee-Roy, at the top of these concrete, grey stairs. I don’t know if it’s a real memory, but it’s vivid.

which single place would you recommend people visit, and why?

Probably one of the places I’ve connected with the most, which is India. It’s a subcontinent, and I’ve only been there once so I’d like to go back. But it’s travelling to or learning about places like India, just like parts of this content, where one gets a real sense of where this world’s contemporary knowledge, culture and tradition is derived from. These spaces have been the source for so much, and it’s often been overlooked and erased.

what is the next project that you are working on?

Co-curating a photographic group show of youth photographers and continuing my research.

Learn all about the game changers who are taking things to the Next Level in our #HLNEXTLEVEL2018  issue.