Faces of Dakar

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Faces of Dakar

on the project…..

The idea of Faces of Dakar was born of the need to capture the city in a manner that is personal. I wanted to capture the rhythm and fabric of the city through its people. This was an incredibly difficult task for me - most of the images I make hardly focus on the body….the absence of the body (or obstructed views of the body) is often used to tell the stories. I’m also careful not to overly assert my significance by proclaiming to “wanting to tell the stories of the people I meet”. In that sense this project is largely personal and self serving.

By incorporating images that were deeply personal (portraiture), I was hoping to create memories that were personal. The idea of homing in, zooming in and focusing on specificity as the soul of the narrative….in a way that allows the facets of the people to say something about the place. 

Ultimately people in any city are the conduit for the energies of the space. 

on what portraiture means…

Each time a portrait is made a story is created…with each image allowing for multiple interpretations….one of the many reasons I’m hesitant when it comes to portraiture. 

The idea that portraiture can be an act of love but also, as history has taught us, it can also be perverted….deeply so. 

Each time someone allows you to take their picture, they are allowing you to see a beauty that is inside of them (if you choose to see it)….this is such a privilege….to see and be part of the process of creating something beautiful. As it has been said before; the opposite of beauty is not ugly but rather it is death…..

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on how the body performs…

I’m interested in times when people look directly into the camera and when they don’t…. & what informs each of these. I’m interested in accentuated moments of tension between the viewer and the viewed….especially when the subject is aware that they are being used as an allegory for certain concepts (or the discomfort when the subject is not aware of this reality). 

In some instances the whole process feels performative, exhibitionist & ‘posey’…..a masquerade, if we’re talking about the worst form….but at the same time it’s exactly this performance that allows us to engage and think through different conceptions….the idea of the body transcending the photo….the body as both medium and tool. 

on concluding….

For most of these images I kept my thoughts and intentions fluid….allowing each person to reveal their character. Despite a lot of aesthetic anxiety, I’ve had a lot of fun putting these images together….embracing the form to connect with others. There’s no big story in these images. I want you to look at them and feel whatever you feel inclined to feel….I would have succeeded if I challenge (even just a little bit) the all too direct and disciplined way in which we read images.

to keep up to date with the project check out: www.instagram.com/nkgopolengmoloi

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