Tuesday, March 2, 2010

High-Tops and Highways to Hell - The Life of a Free Agent

 I asked the subject of this week's MOOKS Report, to give me three adjectives that describe a photograph? And he gave me two... not because he couldn't conjure up a third, but because following rules isn't really his style. 
Say hello to Justin McGee, a guy who is making his way in advertising and fashion arenas throughout the photography world.  Just check what his plans are for 2010: "I and two other friends, Jamal and Jean, are going to be opening a studio in Kinshasa... it's going to be mad!"

Indeed it will. If there is anything I know from third year economic history classes and hanging out with these guys, it leaves me unsure as to who I should be wishing luck. Is it the rebels or rather Justin and his crew? Well, at least the rebels can now look cool. A bit of colour and texture can go a long way in making an impression, good or bad. A change of tone can lift even the gravest of souls. Life isn’t all that bad when you're dressed in thigh-cut skinny's and some dashing old school Nike high-tops.

The naked eye can see many things, but put a slutty SINAR 8X10 in front of it, and some wicked style behind it, and you will see the dirty and the pretty, the sad and the vicious, all juxtaposed and over-exposed in primary colours at the same time. Silly ideals of records and mix tapes, written letters and supper at the dining table, well Justin has managed to keep real this magical feeling of the old-school. The untouched, raw beauty of imperfection. He brings this feeling to each photograph and in a way that makes a girl like me stoked to be writing about a guy like him.

Here's a bit of my interview with mister McGee.....

Finish these sentences please: "The city is......"

Dirty and wonderful

"It's all about the....."

Jacket and cap.


Cool denim

"These fucking....."
Girls kill me.

Do you have any other current creative pursuits?
I do these digital collages that are huge in size like 2.5 meters by 2.5 meters, which I have exhibited in Cape Town and Durban, and turned into wallpapers for clients.

If you could match a song to Cape Town - what song would it be?
Fischerspooner - Emerge.

Fashion photography - where did your interest in this start?

Nick Knight was a huge inspiration for me but the interest came from the different stories you can play with.

Your craziest shoot to date is?
Shooting for this High class strip club. Three days 20 strippers... Totally FUN!!!

What's your favourite piece of clothing in your cupboard - or on the floor?

I collect jackets! But my unsurpassed jersey at the mo is this 50's Springbok bowls jersey. It’s amazing, and still has the original Springbok symbol on the heart section.

F*ck peripheral success; hybrid culture that leeches onto what others have already established as 'cool'. And, although he admits to using a digital: "my clients want fast service and confirmation on the spot that images are perfect", I'm sure one day he will turn the lights down low in his Repunzal-sized room, mix-up some chemicals and delve into the realm of film. 

The digital will be sold and a pair of spanking new kicks will find a home, as for the rest of us? Well, we'll still be riding a digital highway, freaks on speed, all wired up and ready to get nasty. And rich, of course. But madams and sirs, let's not forget that this is a highway to hell. As Hunter S Thompson said "A pig today…bacon tomorrow" bitches!

But, whatever, f*ck the pigs, let’s eat and drink. To what you may ask? Well, to trips to the jungle and making it back safe. And I'm sure they'll make it back just as fine. After all, the bacon in Kinshasa's got nothing on the A Grade streaky we got here.

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