Friday, September 12, 2014


After almost two years working on my new collaborative exhibition, the NOT X CHRIS SAUNDERS exhibition opened this week at Wallplay in New York City. The show was well received. In this post I wanted to put up all the final images from the series, each of these images is available as an edition of 10. The show will be up for viewing till the 17th. We also have an artist talk on Monday the 15th at 7pm in the gallery space. 

NOT X Chris Saunders X Macdonald Mfolo with Manthe Ribame, Orange Farm 2014
NOT X Chris Saunders X Vernac with Manthe Ribame, Bree Street Taxi Rank Johannsburg 2014
NOT X Chris Saunders X Vernac with Manthe Ribame, Bree Street Taxi Rank Johannsburg 2014
NOT X Chris Saunders X Floyd Manotana with Manthe Ribame, Jeppestown Johannsburg 2014
NOT X Chris Saunders X Floyd Manotana with Manthe Ribame, Jeppestown Johannsburg 2014
NOT X Chris Saunders X DR Pachaga with Manthe Ribame, Jeppestown Johannsburg 2014

An Introduction to NOT X CHRIS SAUNDERS: 

In a world of increasing globalization, what is locality and how does it reflect diversity? ‘NOT x Chris Saunders’ is a creative experiment that tries to make sense of this question through fashion and photography. As an act, journalist Bill Moyers describes creativity as “piercing the mundane to find the marvellous ” This exhibition reflects the journey and dialogue between seven creators who step outside of familiar ground. It demonstrates how technology-enabled creators living in different cities and countries, each with varying influences and processes meet via the Internet, enter into an inter disciplinary exchange and collaboratively produce garments, sculptures, still and moving images. In January 2014, NOT, an experimental womenswear brand based in New York, becomes a roving studio and practice. Its designer, Jenny Lai, travels to Johannesburg to collaborate with photographer and filmmaker Chris Saunders. Chris’ personal work focuses on South African artistic subcultures; it is the linchpin to graft the project into multiple local contexts. Cultural reinvention is frequently propelled by emergent practices, and often made by the next generation. ‘NOT x Chris Saunders’ places itself at this nexus. Over a period of two months, the studio moves between Johannesburg, Orange Farm, Soweto and Cape Town. It resides in homes and studios of four local creators who each work with Lai to reinterpret a selection of NOT garments. The designs maintain elements of their original form, but the question is how will they remain the same or change under the vision of accessories designer Dennis Chuene, vintage clothier Dr. Pachanga, menswear designer Floyd Avenue, and costumer and puppet maker Macdonald Mfolo. Each bring their own aesthetic language and techniques that reflect something of their history, environment, and ideas. With performance artist Manthe Ribane as protagonist, Saunders’ images narrate beyond mere documentation. He layers each image densely to situate each story in a uniquely South African context.

- Missla Libsekal, Another Africa (


On September 10th, 2014, NOT x Chris Saunders opens at Wallplay’s concept space on New York’s Lower East Side. The exhibition is the culmination of the cross-cultural, interdisciplinary relationship between New York-based designer Jenny Lai, Johannesburg based photographer Chris Saunders, and four local creatives from South Africa. The exhibition will continue in March at the Museum of African Design.

NOT x Chris Saunders explores the process of creative cross-border collaboration and showcases the distinct people, places, and processes that make South African fashion unique. By utilizing Wallplay’s first and second floor, 12 street level screens and rooftop projections, the exhibition will convey, across several platforms, how a cross cultural collaboration can happen in the modern digital age. The exhibition will make this rich project come alive by inviting visitors through the tactile process of each collaboration: through documentation images, design sketches, final photographs, and a video that shows each garment in performance.
South African collaborators include Dennis Chuene of Vernac Bags, a designer who takes apart China bags to recreate stylish and functional backpacks, Dr Pachanga, a vintage clothier who introduces the global trade of 2nd hand clothing, Floyd Avenue, a streetwear and hat designer from the Smarteez fashion collective, Macdonald Mfolo, a costume designer for Pantsula dancers and maker of larger-than-life puppets, and finally Manthe Ribane, a performance artist who tours internationally with South African rap-rave band Die Antwoord. Each collaborator was chosen for the unique perspective they offered on South African fashion. 

wallplay | 118 Orchard Street (Corner of Delancey) | New York, NY 10002 | join our live feed using #wallplay

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


The Okmalumkoolkat - All Black, Black Kat music video is a rerendering of South African cultural realities through the music of Smiso Zwane and visual direction of Chris Saunders. We enter a night ritual scene at an indoor swimming pool, the ritual based loosely on a Zulu cleansing ceremony, which is performed before a funeral to a male member of the family (A situation Smiso experienced as a child). We juxtapose this situation with the inclusion of South African modern sub-cultural influences experienced by the artist; these influences have manifested his modern sound and dance.

Okmalumkoolkat – ABBK Credits
Directed by Chris Saunders
Cinemtography by Adriaan Louw (We-Are-Awesome-Film)
Produced by Chris Saunders & Daniela Goeller
Edited by Ross Maxwell
Wardrobe and Art Direction by Francois Ferreira (Red Hot Ops)
Make-Up by Liezl Callaghan
Art & Wardrobe Assistant Yasmin Williams
Make-Up Assistant Rita Conradie
Pantsula Dancers Thabang Motaung and Nkosana Mlouzi from Real
Swenka Vusi Kunene
Witch Doctors Ngunda Phiri & Nhlakanipho Nhlapho

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Over the past couple of weeks leading up to the NOT X CS exhibition in New York cities Wallplay gallery Another Africa have been posting a story a week on the collaborators involved in the project. This week they have introduced well known Sowetan street wear design Floyd Manotana AKA Floyd Avenue, I have documented him many times before this as he is one of the founding members of The Smarteez collective. 
Below is exert from the Another Africa article: 
'  Behind the veneer of fashion, well the business of it, we sometimes see the creative impetus. After all in a world saturated by clothes, what makes a designer pick up their sketch book?
For many a creator, an anthropological introspection is part of their habit and routine, though they’d hardly refer to is as such. They are likely to describe it as observing or seeing; it could be a small gesture, or a certain attitude they’ll say. However big or small, these details that often go unnoticed, are the very things that become the inspiration to create. And so fashioning fashion sometimes becomes a catalyst for the making of a new rhythm and self-imagining. ' See more on Floyd at
CT 2014

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


Over the next month leading up to the NOTXCS collaboration exhibition at the Wallplay in New York City, Another Africa will be releasing a series of interviews with the different collaborators we worked with in South Africa on our project. 

The second collaboration is with Vernac bags who are designed by Dennis Chuene in Durbanville near Cape Town. 

Here is an exert from who are media partner with the NOTXCHRISSAUNDERS exhibition:

'Coming of age is filled with periods of awkwardness, of playing with boundaries and self-expression.  Those attempts to discover how to align our clothes with our personalities, ideas and such.
I recall in high school a friend strutting about in slender very pointy black patent brogues. Those coveted Fluevogs were the precursor to the days when it was trendy to wear Dr. Martens. She happily stood out, whilst others snickered calling them elf shoes, and other choice unnameable descriptors. But Denise simply laughed and kept wearing her “soles for unique souls”.
Many a fashion designer finds inspiration in the Denise’s of this world, and the same can be said of Dennis Chuene. In his case the kids that helped form his early appreciation of fashion, were the eccentric musicians of his teens. Whilst musicians today still seem to have significant sway in South Africa, the designer finds his inspiration in the humble plastic traveling bag.'
CT 2014 #NOTXCS 

Sunday, July 20, 2014


Over the next month leading up to the NOTXCS collaboration exhibition at the Wallplay in New York City, Another Africa will be releasing a series of interviews with the different collaborators we worked with in South Africa on our project. 

The first of those is DR Pachanga AKA JR Onyangunga.

Here is an exert from Another Africa: 

' NOT x Chris Saunders | A Fashion & Photography collaboration from New York to South Africa featuring Dr. Pachanga
For some fashion merely constitutes items of clothing to cover the body, and for others it’s the palette for creativity and individuality. Johannesburg based vintage clothier,  Jean-Rene Onyagunga who goes by the alias Dr. Pachanga, falls into the later category. ' 

Check in over the next few weeks to see more. 

CT 2014

NOTXCS : Another Africa

 Image by Justin McGee

The first press release on Another Africa is out. Missla Libsekal breaks down our process into a well written insightful series of dialogue in the form of a interview. 

All of this is aiming towards the release of our exhibition in NYC next month at WallPlay.

NOT x Chris Saunders’ an experimental fashion and photography collaboration from New York to South Africa made possible by the Internet.

Armed with a bit of bandwidth and a few good keywords plugged into google’s image search, documentation of far flung happenings are only as far your finger tips. Add social media to the mix and you can track down near to anyone with an online presence. This hyper-connectivity is changing the prospects for creative collaboration.

CT 2014

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Not X Chris Saunders Exhibition in NYC Crowd funding

Not (Jenny Lai) and myself completed an amazing collaborative body of work earlier this year and we are now getting ready to exhibit it in NYC and have launched a crowdfunding campaign. The point of the work, to expose the uniqueness of South African creativity globally. We wanted to show the uniqueness of the South African process and what makes it so unique.
Our Collaborators where Vernac Bags Dennis Chuene), Mac D the puppet maker from Orange Farm, Floyd Avenue Floyd Funky-LowLife Avenue) from the Smarteez collective in Soweto and Dr Pachanga AKAJean Rene Maximillion.
Please help us make this exhibition happen. We have an amazing space in the Lower East side call Wallplay ( that are hosting us plus an amazing plan to showcase the work.
Lets expose the vibrancy through a positive showcase of exceptional work between borders.
Help us by contributing anything from $10 US. We really appreciate it!
Visit the Indiegogo page for more information on the collaboration plus a 
video about the project.

Please Share this.

CT 2014

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

L'Afrique C'est Chic Fashion Editorial for GQ Online

Teamed up with Francois Ferreira for this new fashion editorial, we took the basic idea of classic African iconography and fashion imagery, re-imagined it and came up with the concept for this shoot. Amy Anstey saved the day with her amazing make up and body painting techniques. 

Full Credits: 

Photographer: Chris Saunders
Stylist: Francois Ferreira 
Make Up and Hair: Amy Anstey
Sanele Xaba
Tumi (Boss)
Emy (Boss)

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Nozinja - Tsekeleke Music video

My new music video for Nozinja launched on WARP is now live!

Directed By. Chris Saunders
Production Company. Ola Films 
Producer. Olivia Leitch 
Post Production. Voltaire 
Edited by. Malcolm Che
Grade. Pudding 

Monday, March 31, 2014

Sneak Peak - Nozinja Music Video.

Here is a little sneak peak of my new music video for the Shangaan Electro creator Nozinja's new music video. 

CT 2014

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Destiny Fashion Jan 2014

Here is a selection of images I shot for the January 2014 edition of Destiny magazine. Super simple, studio shots. Styled by Papama Ramogase. 

CT 2014

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Springbreak, Springbreak forever

This shoot has been sitting in my collection for a while. It was meant to be published by a 'South African' magazine last year but it was bombed. I love it and am happy that I can finally release it. The shoot was inspired by Harmony Korine's Springbreakers, a movie about four college students who rob a shop to go to Miami on Springbreak, they meet up with James Franco and things go completely pear shape, a great movie. Myself and stylist Crystal Birch hooked up with some models at Studio Studio and shot this fashion story based on the new cult film.

Here is a selection from the original shoot.

CT 2014

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Adidas Portrait Series - Maboneng

In late 2013 I was commissioned by Adidas to shoot a series of portraits for the Area 3 space in Johannesburg. I was one of a bunch of photographers from the city who focussed on their individual neighbourhoods. Along side me shooting this series was Justice & Innocent Mukheli (I See A different you) shooting Soweto, Anthony Bila (The Expressionist), Stephanie O'Connor shooting Parkhurst and Hanro Havenga shooting Illovo. 

Below is a selection of images that where shown during the exhibition. 

CT 2014

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

KWV 3 for Gloo (CT)

As we all know Im really bad at posting my own work online lately. It comes with been completely inundated with things to do. When I first moved into Studio Studio (my new studio in The Maboneng Precinct) I was approached by Gloo Cape Town  to a do a shoot for KWV R3mix a new creative platform they where working on for the brand.

We where briefed to get relevant personalities from Johannesburg excelling in their different disciplines, We then shot them all around the studio which is based in Maboneng / Jeppestown. 

Khaya Sibiya (Punk & Ivy / Stylist) put together an eclectic group of young creatives from Johannesburg. We worked with Choc Seruno (Rapper / Actor), Maitele Wawe (Fashion Designer / Blogger), Bakers Man (Skater / Soweto Skate Society) and Anthony Billa (Photographer / The Experessionist). 

Choc Seruno

Maitele Wawe

Bakers Man

Anthony Billa 

CT 2014