Thursday, February 4, 2016

Pantsula - NY Times - First Release

'Ezomdabu a Pantsula crew from Vosloorus, posing in their signature way on a wall' 2014
For the past 6 years I have spent envy spare moment documenting a culture I think deserves to be in the limelight. Pantsula is a way of life epitomised through an incredible fast paced dance which tells stories about the life in the townships of Johannesburg. Most people that grew up in Johannesburg know about it or have seen or experienced some form of the dance. Its something intrinsically linked to a place which is my home intrinsically linked to its history and adapting to continue to exist into the future. 

After six years of working on a in depth documentation of the culture the first preview of the upcoming larger body of work has been released by the NY Times Lens blog and Art Section, below is an extract from the article on Lens, to see the rest follow the link here:

CT 2016 

Tebza 2000 part of my dance moves video series where I shoot video footage of a specific dance move and then break it down into a still contact sheet. 

1. 325 Pantsula, Orange Farm                                       2. A Second generation Pantsula, via Broom. 

Rosary Productions from Dukathole pose above outdoor toilets to children.

            1. Lee from Intellectuals Pantsula, Soweto                                      2. Dlala Mapantsula - Mohlakeng 

Born In Africa Pantsula - Khatlehong 

A shadow of The Future Pantsula crew posing at an old hall in Mohlakeng Township outside of Johannesburg. 
Rea Iktetsa Pantsula posing in Soweto.

Simunye On Fire, in a signature pose as a train passes by in the background. 

Vila Coster Pantsula dancing in one of the members front Garden.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Bubblegum Club Launch - Featuring Manthe Ribane

My good friends over at Bubblegum Club have posted our first story together, as you can see Manthe and I have been making waves with the Ghost Diamond collaboration and before embarking on our first tour to Europe Jamal Nxedlana (co-creator of Bubblegum club) asked us to do a shoot. The results are tremendous and we are very happy to be associated and featured on such a great portal. From the creators of South Africa's CUSS magazine (and some of the members of the CUSS Collective) they bring you Bubblegum club magazine and agency. Below is a blurb from their site, check out the website
From the Bubblegum Club website:
Our Online Magazine is a compendium of images, news and opinion which presents our perspective on the people and production defining South African youth culture. Its vision is to present an alternative narrative on South African art and society, by showcasing cutting edge creators and their work. The magazine is not based solely on popularity or visibility, but aims to give exposure to individuals and groups who embody passion and innovation. As well as being a showcase, the magazine is a platform for ideas and commentary which frame and advance cultural trends.

The Bubblegum Club is a cultural intelligence agency, founded by Lex Trickett and Jamal Nxedlana. We work to help brands and organizations understand and engage with contemporary South African youth culture. Along with identifying trends, we take the holistic approach of interpreting and explaining them. Through conceptualizing the broader social context of trends, our projects and activations help our clients to organically access youth culture.

Reflecting this mission, the company is divided into three interconnected divisions- an agency, an online magazine and a physical project space based in the Newtown precinct.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Ghost Diamond Live - Switzerland & UK 2016

We have completed our first tour of screenings with the Ghost Diamond project (my new collaborative film project with musician OKZHARP starring Manthe Ribane). The film was presented at The 7th Norient Music Film festival in Bern Switzerland (as well as satellite events in Lausanne and St. Gallen), we where also given the opportunity to launch the new live experience, 'Ghost Diamond Live' where by OKZHARP, Manthe Ribane and myself (under the alias Sondeza as a VJ). Taking the footage from the film, I remix it live with the show, creating a new version of the film live at each time we play. 

On the tour we also took the opportunity to start filming new content which we use live in each live rendition, adding to the existing narrative. One element is to film new dance footage from the city we are touring in at the time, this way incorporating recent and up to date material into the show, this is also a form of recognition of the environment we are performing in. With such a fast moving pace to the music industry at the moment, incorporating relevant new content into the set all the time plays to the 'social media' and instant nature of the industry. My version is more of a thought through post event upload mentality where by I shoot the footage earlier in the day and then incorporate it later on live, this way curating and making sure that I can work in interesting locations and still honour my classic film making background, not just focussing on the instant element completely. This is both a statement on the fact that I think that its important for modern film makers to focus on the narrative, process and aesthetic, as well as work with modern, instant (as possible) showcasing techniques.

The images posted are photographic material shot of Manthe during the tour in Switzerland and in the London. 

CT 2012. 
All images copyright of Chris Saunders 2016

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Ghost Diamond (Official Trailer)

Ghost Diamond Official Trailer out now. The film will be having its first mini tour where it will be both presented as a short film and a live performance where Manthe Ribane, Gervase Gordon and myself perform live as a trio. I will be VJ'ing the film live to the audience in a new and more adaptive audio enhance manner. For now though, enjoy they trailer.

Ghost Diamond is the new film by Chris Saunders, a Johannesburg-based photographer and filmmaker, and Okzharp, a Cape Town-born, London-based musician. The film was made over the last 2 years and was supported by the SA-UK Seasons 2014 & 2015, a partnership between the Department of Arts and Culture, South Africa, and the British Council.
In Ghost Diamond, a young woman journeys to the heart of a new African metropolis. She finds a jewel in the dust and is given a book by a stranger. Inspired, she must find a purpose for this new possession and for this new knowledge. Figures, objects and places from her past appear to her as she moves against the cold city curves. Can she find hope in this place and time?
The film connects specific Zulu and Japanese mythologies via elements of the story, the visual style and Manthe Ribane’s dance performance. This film looks at the emotional landscape of the new international dialogues that are occurring in the modern hyper-connected African city. The film was itself a product of such a relationship. Okzharp previously toured in SA with Zaki Ibrahim and Okmalumkoolkat via the British Council’s Connect ZA project. This lead to Chris Saunders directing short films for Sebenza and Spitting Cobra by Okzharp’s previous group LV and Okmalumkoolkat, both on Hyperdub. Ghost Diamond is the latest work in this audiovisual collaboration. 

The film was shot on location in and around Johannesburg. It was edited in Cape Town. The soundtrack is by Okzharp in collaboration with Manthe Ribane, Zaki Ibrahim and Petite Noir. Music was written and recorded in SA at various locations including a security bunker in the Cape flats, Red Bull studios, Cape Town and a cavernous ex-marshmallow factory in Maboneng, Joburg. The final mix to picture was done at The Crush in London by Okzharp with UK mixing engineer, Dil Harris. Some of the music will be released later this year.

Ghost Diamond will be showing at the following venues in Europe this early 2016:

14th Jan 7th Norient Music Film Festival (Bern, Switzerland) -
15th Jan 7th Norient Music Film Festival (St Gallen, Switzerland) -
16th Jan 7th Norient Music Film Festival (Lausanne, Switzerland) -
1st Feb CTM Festival (Berlin, Germany) -

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Workshop Newtown Portraits

Fashion Designer AYA
A selection of portraits shot for a new market in Johannesburg, South Africa called Workshop Newtown. I was commissioned by Source SA / Southern Guild to document some of their amazing tenants in the new Workshop Newtown development, part of the Newtown Junction mall. Some of South Africa's top Fashion Designers and personalites have opened spaces selling their wares. 

Papama Ramogase, Fashion Editor of Destiny Magazine and creator / designer for her children clothing brand Butter Pudding

Stylist and Hat Designer, Crystal Birch and her new shop clerk.

2nd Hand clothier, Dr. Pachanga

Designer, Maria McCloy

Owner and designer of Pichulik, Katherine-Mary 

Owner & Designer of Vernac, Dennis Chuene

Wolf + Maiden Constructing their space

Jacques & Bradley / Black Coffee & Love Jozi

Monday, December 28, 2015

Treben Scarves

A shoot for Trebene Scarves from early 2015 which somehow went under the radar and I never posted it. Rather late than never.

 Styled by Francois Ferreira 
Make Up by Amy Anstey

Thursday, November 26, 2015

The Collectiv3 - Nataal Media - Lagos, Nigeria

“Temi Dollface is the Joan of Arc of Nigerian music.” So proclaims Ikon, who is sitting to my right in a Lagos hotel bar. Temi Dollface, sitting to my left, blushes sweetly. He’s not wrong. As the first lady of The Collectiv3, she and the rest of the eight-strong group of independent musicians and producers are leading the charge into new territory that goes beyond mainstream naijapop and battles for authentic sounds that speak to a global audience. This ambitious rallying cry rings true on their self-titled debut album, which is available as a free download and offers up cutting edge music in a scene often chastised for commercial mediocrity.
“Nigeria’s official country motto is ‘Unity and Diversity’ but there’s not much of that in the music industry right now,” says Temi. “The Collectiv3 is a movement of artists who share a creative telepathy and are coming together to stand up and make a difference. There’s a kinship you can hear in the music.”
Ikon first came up with the idea of an alternative supergroup over three years ago. “I wanted to unite likeminded artists who push the envelope and call it Free Spirits but it didn’t happen because of all the individual projects we had going on,” the Syndik8 Records founder recalls. “So fast forward to this year and we’re still collaborating. Then Chin (Okeke, executive producer and A&R for the project) got involved and successfully played the part of the suit. As musicians we’re always spending time tweaking songs and being perfectionists. So he came in and said ‘Look, let’s stop jamming and put this stuff out!’”

Text extract from Nataal Media, See the rest of the article written by Helen Jennings 

Destiny Man - Poolside Fashion Editorial

Photographic Assistant: Lesedi Mothoagae
Photographic Intern: Jenna Cristofoli 
Fashion Editor: Mpumi Sinxoto
Fashion Assistants: Palesa Matlebyane, Obakeng Thage, Megan Hatte & Zane Melani 
Grooming: Kelly Fuchs 
Model: Arshad Dean @ Boss Models 
Location: Poolside in The Maboneng Precinct (Warren 082 754 9745)