Lehlogonolo Ngoasheng 


Lehlogonolo Ngoasheng views photography as means of finding beauty in places that initially seem dull. Born in Tembisa in the East Rand of Gauteng, he first picked up a camera to document what himself and his friends were wearing. And yet, his images are a world a way from mainstream fashion photography, offering a quiet serenity and stillness in which people and places could be anyone, anywhere. Lehlogonolo reveals the fantasy embedded in the minutiae of everyday life.


INCCA: You mention that your work aims to both question the notion of perception and make people aware of their own perception. Can you elaborate on this?

Lehlogonolo Ngoasheng (LN): We are surrounded by a lot of things and this makes it difficult for us to fully pay attention to our surroundings. With my work, I aim to make people aware of the beauty that surrounds us at all times. For instance, somebody can look at a taxi and just see a mode of transport and the next person can look at the same taxi and think of the soothing feeling of being in a taxi while it’s in motion. There is more to the ordinary.

There is more to the ordinary.

INCCA: You were born and raised in Tembisa. How did you come to discover photography in this context and why is it important to you as a medium?

LN: I discovered photography through fashion, I bought a pocket camera in order to take good quality pictures of my outfits and I use to take pictures of my friends. That is when I picked up my passion for photography, I enjoyed being behind the camera than being in front of it and that led me to researching about photography. Photography is important to me because it keeps on changing how I perceive the world and it taught me to find beauty in places that seem dull. 

INCCA: Often, you offer very little context for the work in the titles. At the same time they are often close up details or landscapes that could be a multitude of spaces. Is this non-specificity important to you and if so how come?

LN: The non-specificity is important, giving too much context about the work will only make people view the work through that context and that will box in the work. I want people to see the work and then make up their own context.
INCCA: There is a stillness to your work, even your portraits have a sense of serenity and quiet, and a train in motion almost appears stuck in time. Do you consider the way in which photography can pause moments to create this stillness?

LN: Yes, I do consider the way in which photography can pause moments to create stillness. That is one of the reasons why photography fascinates me.
INCCA: What are you working on at the moment and how do you see your work evolving?

LN: I am currently working on a number of projects which I find quite interesting and I cannot wait to share the work. The ultimate evolution would be having more eyes on the work.

Independent Network for Contemporary Culture & Art
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