STREET PORTRAITS - Ruan van Jaarsveldt

"Street Portraits set me on a path of self-discovery."

Artist: Ruan van Jaarsveldt
Project: Street Portraits



"Over a decade working in fashion and advertising taught me a variety of technical skills. I thought it novel to take those skills out into the streets of South Africa. I developed ways to recreate a photo studio environment outside on sidewalks – a space everyone has access to. The studio consisted only of a white back drop and an assistant with a reflector. Creating a studio outside on the street ensured engagement with all sorts of people from all walks of life. My technical approach helped refined how and when I could take the portraits. And so, a journey of South Africans and their everyday selves ensued and examined my own identity through their gaze.

This led me to challenge my heritage and cultural identity as an Afrikaner and young South African. The mere fact that a gen- eration or two ago this wasn’t possible was a reminder that I am privileged to be able to share myself to and learn from the public."

"Street Portraits set me on a path of self-discovery. Exploring my identity on a journey through my country, and my heart. The many faces and nations of South Africa can be found along the countless different street curbs where businesses are started, beggars sleep, gambling takes place and recently - where photographers build studios. The same eyes I met in the street and froze in time have been staring back at me in the dark room and throughout the editing process, continuously mirroring my own position in society and feelings about it back to me."

© Ruan van Jaarsveldt

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