It was towards the end of last year that Yonnic had been through a few thrift shopping runs to expand his wardrobe. He approached me with this idea to try recreate looks from the late 1980s. Inspired by the sense of extravagance of that period, we ventured into suburban Cape Town, South Africa to bring the idea and vintage feeling to life.
The images were very much captured on the fly with Yonnic pulling off a suave mix of dynamic and static poses. We walked the streets dressed much like our parents would have while exuding a childlike nonchalance. The sun watched over us as we sought scenes caught between light and shadow. We spoke in depth about our own upbringings and family dynamics as we passed by homes in a place that our parents would have never been able to visit in their hey-day.
Homes are interesting spaces, there’s no telling what stories lie within by looking at the outside. Just like a book, we’re oblivious to what that space has bared witness to nor why it looks the way it does. It’s in this way that these images play with feeling of being nostalgic for another time while being unaware of what was hidden below the surface.
It’s the soft blurry focus that plays with being unaware of the finer details and lived experiences of the 1980s. Beyond the images from that time, in all their refined, showy glory, were the complicated lives of communities living in a tumultuous time ruled by racism and censorship. This act of our brown bodies freely roaming a previously white area - as declared by the Group Areas Act of 1950 during Apartheid - has led me through many moments of reflection since this shoot.
One such moment, which has returned upon occasion, is this notion of being unapologetic.
Not the kind of unapologetic that writes people off or steamrolls through issues while only preserving the self. But the kind of unapologetic which speaks to owning your existence. Somehow being able to find the courage and freedom to express your being as you see fit. Being aware of your culture, your truths and your narrative such that you’re well aware that you may be the only one able to tell your story. It’s this unapologetic nature that I admire in Yonnic.
We live in a wildly interesting time. So I guess introducing some imagination to what was left in the past might just trigger us to think about where and who we want to be in the future.