Thursday, 24 November 2011

Heat Magazine - Pool Party

I never thought I would ever shoot for Heat Magazine and every time I work for them I have this thought in my mind. All I know is that Melissa Maxted the fashion editor and good friend of mine has turned the magazine around and given it some street cred. She comes up with awesome ideas, collaborates well within the restrictions and makes every shoot a good experience to be on. 

For the summer editorial in the weekly (where fashion is only published every three weeks) we shot a manic pool party shoot with a mixed bag of 'models / celebrities', we had a local actress, girl rock band and a bunch of professional cage fighters. We some how managed to make it work and have a good time. The editorial was shot at the Ellis Park Swimming pool in downtown Johannesburg, here are the images. 

Chris Saunders 

Thursday, 17 November 2011

My new website -

So after months of work and curating portfolios I am pleased to announce the launch of my new website, The new branding and url come with a story. The company that was hosting my last website, became defunct but some how didn't take my website down and allow me any access to the ownership of the url. So at the moment it is hosted but I cannot get hold of them to put my new site up under the same domain. With this obstacle in my way I decided to register a new domain, whatwasparadise. I came up with the name while traveling through the united states this year where I came across a table in the back of an abandoned motel between the Texas and New Mexican border on the old Route 66. The table had the words 'What Was Paradise,' etched in it and I found this inspirational because I believe that what photographs do is document what was paradise.

The new website was designed by the multi-talented designer Magdalena Czarnecki who I met while on residency last year at Fabrica in Italy.

Thanks for now.
Chris Saunders

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Featured in The Guardian Newspaper UK's Fashion Statement

Due to the the amazing feature of my work in Helen Jennings's new book 'New African Fashion' (Phaidon), I have been picked up by the Guardian's fashion statement weekly newsletter and blog. Its always been a dream to be featured and have anything published in the Guardian. Check it out further on their website,

If you are interested in ordering a copy of Helen Jennings book, New African Fashion you can get it on Amazon -

CTS 2011

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Live Magazine Images, Featured on CNN Inside Africa.

I have had the pleasure the last couple of months to spend my time as photography mentor at a great project called Live Magazine. The project entails giving young people from different backgrounds in Cape Town a chance to make a magazine of their own doing with the help of different mentors. It was originally conceived in London and run in Brixton, where I met the South African founder (who is from the UK) Gavin Weale. The project has been featured in The Guardian Newspaper and recently CNN Inside Africa which is why I wanted to post it. The article will explain much more about the project.

A selection of 10 images from the documentation I have been doing over the last couple of months.

Check out the full article on CNN Inside Africa,

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Street Style - Guguletu Cape Town

I hit up Mzoli's in Cape Town this weekend and shot some street style images outside Mzoli's butchery a popular meeting spot on a Sunday afternoon. Met some pretty stylish people who I thought deserved a blog update.

CT 2011

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Religion Clothing

I was approached by Chipo from Styling concepts a few months ago to put together a concept with Stylist Bee Diamondhead and my ex-assistant and now intern at Marie Claire South Africa Candice Jooste. Together we came up with a shoot with Eve Rakow from Johannesburg based band the Frown in an abandoned hospital in Kempton Park (east of Johannesburg).

It was a spooky day with some very eerie vibes in the building. It was fully equipped with beds and wheelchairs. A very strange place indeed. The images where used for the launch of Religion clothing in South Africa, the London brand is been marketed by Styling Concepts, the well known Johannesburg based fashion PR agency.

CT 2011

Monday, 26 September 2011

Colour Block with Lalla Hirayama & Heat Magazine

Here is a new fashion editorial shot for Heat Magazine South Africa with Lalla Hirayama, staying in the Colour Block theme. Instead of the usual Melissa Maxted (Fashion Editor) and myself decided to make huge real coloured blocks, much more fun! 

Fashion Editor: Melissa Maxted
Make-Up: Natasha Kruger
Model: Lalla Hirayama 
Photographic Assistant: Murray Turpin 

Wyatt Hair - Architecture via hair

Acclaimed South African hairdresser Candice Wyatt who has won several international accolades and I have been working on a hair exhibition. Our first shoot was with fashion editor Carla Uys from Cleo Magazine.

Candice is truly a mastermind with a pair of scissors and the new series of images which we have begun shooting has not been released yet. This is just a little taster of whats to come.

CTS 2011

Cleo Magazine - Fashion in Gold.

A couple months ago before I departed for the USA, I got the opportunity to shoot a Fashion Editorial with Cleo Magazine South Africa. The theme was black & gold.

Fashion Editor: Carla Uys
Photographic Assistant: Candice Jooste 

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

The Smarteez - Red Bulletin Magazine

A few months ago I had the pleasure to re-visit one of my favorite subjects, The Smarteez Fashion collective from Soweto, Johannesburg. Red Bulletin Magazine, Red Bulls monthly publication commissioned me to go and shoot a new piece on where they have come from and where they are going. It was an amazing experience and it is interesting to see the new challenges for the prolific fashion designers.

I was accompanied by Tudor Caradoc-Davies who wrote a in depth story into the guys, aptly titled Rainbow Warriors. I have attached it to this blog post for your perusal.

Chris Saunders 2011

James Bhemgee

A while back I was commissioned by Total Exposure Johannesburg to do a shoot with the opera sensation James Bhemgee in Mitchells Plain close to Cape Town. James's story touched the heart of the nation a couple of years ago when he won SA's got talent a reality television show on SABC.

James used to be a street sweeper on the streets of Cape Town CBD until a lady heard him singing while he was doing his job one morning, she then sent him for training and today he is one of South Africa's biggest success stories.

To read up more on James, please go to James's Facebook page. 


Chris 2011

Friday, 9 September 2011

S'Phara Phara video piece

The thought of my exhibition almost been over is haunting me, its been a month and it feels like days. On that note, I wanted to upload my video piece which was on display at the exhibition in The Resolution Gallery.

The video piece is the culmination of other experimentation with other videos I shot while at Fabrica, originally I was commissioned by The United Colors of Benetton to shoot a video piece which could be used in the video installation walls in their stores of the acclaimed Johannesburg fashion collective the Smarteez. Unfortunately we shot it but it never came to fruition. So I decided to shoot another similar video for my exhibition on the Real Action Pantsula dance crew, this time learning from the mistakes I had made last time and getting to work with the amazing editor Malcolm Che' to finish it off.

The S'Phara Phara exhibition will be up till the 17th September at The Resolution Gallery in Johannesburg.

CT 2011. 

Thursday, 4 August 2011

S'Phara Phara - 20th August - Resolution Gallery, Johannesburg. Solo Exhibition.

So on my return from the USA I will be doing the final preparations for my solo show on the Real Actions Pantsula Dance Crew in Johannesburg. Below is a press release and the first invite for the show. The show will open at 12pm on the 20th August at the Resolution Gallery in Jan Smuts ave, Johannesburg. It will have the culmination of the work I shot during my stint at Colors (Fabrica) in Italy where the documentary began when I was commissioned to shoot for the Dance issue and further delving into this amazing contemporary  South African culture.

The show will be opened by iconic South African photographer Alf Khumalo and include two video installations as well as an array of framed prints. 

CT 2011

Friday, 15 July 2011

Ron Adler, Arizona USA

On this journey I have had the pleasure to meet some pretty amazing and bizarrely interesting people. Often I stack the shots up on my laptop and promise myself that I will post them as soon as I can. Today I got to meet Ron Adler and Theresa at 'All Bikes' just outside of Payson Arizona on the way to Phoenix. Ron has for the past 30 years collected and sold second hand motorcycle's and bikes. He has a yard with thousands of them and I was lucky enough to come across it. I spent hours chatting with him and his mechanic Theresa in their yard about bikes and life.

Thanks Ron for been so accommodating and knowledgable, people like you make this world worth exploring. 

The journey continues with 2 weeks and counting till we reach Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles, California. 

CT 2011

Theresa, Ron's right hand mechanic. 
People come from all over to find this place, California, Finland even other South African's supposedly. 

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Swimming in Arizona

While on my trip through the USA I haven't had much time to edit footage or make many videos as we spend alot of our time filling up the van, cleaning and of course filming. Every week we get one day off and this day off I decided to do something with the Go Pro which I recently bought before coming on the journey. I didn't know what to expect, but am pleasantly surprised by the results. We went swimming in a small town in Arizona which we stayed the night in called St John's. Good times, enjoying summer.

CT 2011

Sunday, 3 July 2011

A short video by Chris Saunders & Shaun Stander.

Here is a short edit of something Shaun & I recently shot here in the USA while trailing Jon beeby on his journey across the USA. 

CT 2011

Shaun Stander and a portrait a day.

On my current journey through the USA where we are documenting the journey of Jon Beeby's walk across the vast country, I have been working alongside my good friend and fellow film maker / photographer Shaun Stander. I studied with Shaun at the National College of Photography in 2003 and we haven't seen much of each other since he immigrated to Canada 3 years ago.

We have been shooting a portrait a day. Shaun has posted some of the images the shot of me on his blog:

CT 2011

20th June 2011 - Oklahoma

22nd June 2011 - Texas

24th June 2011 - Amarillo, Texas

28th June 2011 - New Mexico

29th June - New Mexico

26th June 2011 - New Mexico