The scene he operates in has changed significantly since he came to London in the early 1960s, a political refugee from apartheid South Africa. Inspired by the visual culture of the swinging days of capital, it was in the 1980s that Bolofo really started to break through, shooting editorials for Vanity Fair, Vogue and GQ and campaigns for Hermès, Dior and Louis Vuitton, publishing several photobooks and spending two years documenting his hero, Lord Snowdon.
I love using the word “photograph” instead of 'image', 'image' for me is disposable
The first photographer to have ever received a ’carte blanche’ to the
Hermès Maison workshops, South African photographer Koto Bolofo is on a mission to challenge our understanding of craft. Documented over eight years, the resulting ’La Maison’ is a voyeuristic 11-volume look behind the closed doors of a Parisian house who until now, has remained the mysterious dowager of the fashion universe.
The result of a seven-year project, Bolofo’s images showcase the painstaking measures that go into the production of a single Hermès product.
His film work has garnered several awards and featured at a variety of festivals, including the Berlin International Film Festival, the BBC British Short Film Festival, Amnesty International Film Festival, London Film Festival, Venice International Film Festival, Cambridge Film Festival and Cape Town International Film Festival.
Bolofo’s work was never strictly tied to fashion. He’s a visionary who has spent 30 years stepping between the boundaries of his medium. Bolofo has consistently produced iconic images published through different series and books that are absent of the markers of time. Examples of this range from his audacious minimalism in the 1990s, to his striking introduction of colour in ‘Skin’, in which bodies are treated for their formal qualities, sculptural and sublime.
‘His intimacy with his subjects is something you really feel in his work; he works hard to make a connection with his subjects to get to a level of ease and total openness. You see it in the books he makes, like Dreams and Venus: there is an extraordinary level of trust between photographer and subject.’
Please update your browser to access Creative Exchange Agency.
To request a PDF, please enter your email address. Once your PDF has been generated, you will receive an email with a download link.