Kgomotso Neto: Listening and Looking

A photographic exhibition of the highly anticipated body of work Turning Heads, a reflection on the African grooming and self-care experience.

Kgomotso Neto Tleane is a dynamic South African photographer with the mouldings of rural life and trimmings of fast paced city living. Born and raised in Ga-Maja, the Johannesburg based photographer creates imagery that effortlessly reflects both the grime and glory of the city he inhabits.

Looking at a photograph is about listening and then looking. One has to listen to what the photograph wants to say before imposing anything on it. It is about how the ear catches the whispers and shouting that escape beyond the edges of the frame. It is about staring at what is there, what is not there, what could be there, what needs to be there. Turning Heads, Kgomotso Neto’s photography series inspired by Black people and how they groom themselves on sidewalks, taxi ranks, malls, can only be viewed in this discipline.

What influences the subject matter that you focus on in your photography?

I usually photograph what I am familiar with, especially for my personal projects. It's usually because I want to find out more about what I am shooting or I think it's something worth being photographed. A lot of other times I just can't explain why I shoot what I shoot, it just feels right to do so.

What do you want your photographs to say and how do you get your images to communicate that?

I don't have a plan or formula to this, but what I always try do is to show my clear intentions on the photograph. I try to be as honest as I can with what I am shooting. I would like to believe that comes through in the images I make, and it is mostly because I try as hard as I can to listen to my gut feeling.

What motivates you to continue taking pictures?

It feels good, it is important, it is archiving, it's stories told, it's a journey of self-discovery.

Who influenced you and who are some of your favourite photographers?

This is a hard one. I’m mostly influenced by the people around me, a lot of my friends are creatives, I derive different things from them. They are, Nonzuzo Cheryl Gxekwa, Lebogang Tlhako (sisterbozza), Andile Buka, Andrew Shabangu, Andre D. Wagner. The list goes on.

*Turning Heads Opens Thursday 28 November 2019 at Artivist (7 Reserve Street, Braamfontein) from 18:00-23:00.