Born in the Eastern Cape, Stef was raised among the amaXhosa and absorbed their local culture and language from a very young age. Being fluent has certainly assisted in his choice of models for his work, which serves to create awareness of the innate beauty of the heritage of dance and movement among this group of people.
Having a clear and unabated passion for dance, he has been photographing human movement since 1996. In these images he captures the often ignored aspects of the Black Male; their gentle, elegant, creative, emotional and sensual nature as opposed to the socially accepted perception of criminal behaviour being predominant.
“Africans do not, for instance, dance merely for amusement; dance is the expression of a communal spirit. In Africa everyone dances; they dance as they live, inserting dance almost casually into everyday gestures and it is perhaps because of this that they guide the music rather than be guided by it. They can dance to any sound even if that sound is only confined to their heads.”
~ Mirella Ricciardi
He describes his latest work under the title “Revelations”. The choice of name has manifold interpretations:
Firstly, the act of being revealed to, an opening of one’s eyes.
Secondly, the revelation of a hidden aspect of a misunderstood group of people.
Lastly it is a homage to Alvin Ailey’s Revelations. Since its debut in 1960, more people have seen Revelations than any other modern dance work.
Born in the year of Revelations, 1960. Bloemfontein, South Africa.
His love affair with light started as early as 1975.
Have you ever watched the African sunrise?
How the light plays with everything?
How rich the black skin becomes during the “magic hour”?
It is a celebration of texture and the warmth of the flesh.
I am a child of Africa.
This is my love affair with Africa.
Photography is my journey of self-discovery and self-awareness.
My Gumbe-dance and heartbeat.
My million shades of blue…