Thursday, April 15, 2021

TruBlu displays fashion photography

Voice newspaper readers are aware of weekly fashion pictorials put together by stylists, Fashion Twinz. Kgosi Goodwill and Taelo Entaile have developed a reputation amongst young fashion-conscious urbanites for their commentary on current clothing trends, accompanying spreads and their quarterly TruBlu fashion magazine. But little known is the fact that they execute their fashion shoots themselves.

At the invitation of the National Museum and Art Gallery’s Chief Curator, Philip Segola, Kgosi and Taelo are exhibiting some of their fashion photography and a bit more. Some portrait photography, concert photography, still life pictures and images that are best termed as digital art are on show.

The opening of the two-week exhibition at the Octagon Gallery last Tuesday was exceptional in being attended by a younger crowd, which included some fashion designers. Regular proceedings were peppered with a speech from one of TruBlu’s constant sponsors, and the duo’s friend whose voice filled the gallery in a song about dreams coming true.

The exhibition is relatively sparse (considering that it is derived from 2004 to date), and perhaps TruBlu could have exploited the fact that exhibiting in a gallery allows one to liberally enlarge their photographs to be as big as the exhibiting space would allow.

In making images striking, contemporary fashion photography tends to rely on the shock factor. In TruBlu’s case, a couple of pictures are posed for in sexually suggestive ways, which is quite docile in the wake of naked Page 3 girls. They have not pushed the envelope in this exhibition. The most striking portrait in the exhibition has to be a regal black and white portrait of journalist Morongwa Phala, which appears to have been shot at a low shutter speed.

Their exhibition statement announces Kgosi as the photographer, and, considering that he is a self taught photographer, he exhibits a knack for good composition in a few of the photographs, particularly one with young boys throwing up hand signs, and another taken at this year’s Maitisong Festival’s production of Sarafina.

There are images that are evidently manipulated; one picture looks more like a negative image of a skimpily dressed lady. Her image is outlined in black, her dress, hat and glasses are white on a blue background. Kgosi’s artistic interpretation of scantly-dressed women in the freeze of a winter night.

This exhibition is especially appealing to fashion lovers and generally interest viewers to pick up a camera and take up fashion photography because of the beautiful model posed images. Models, playing children and sights from daily rural life are not at all repellent, or as mundane as they normally seem.

Visitors will also witness the wonder years of one of Botswana’s first professional fashion photography entities. It is fitting that they dub their exhibition as The Wonder Years because what it does is signify a potential for virtuosity by the self-taught photographers.

The exhibition is open until July 16.


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