Theme: South African Essence

Whether he is capturing intimate portraits or being commissioned for corporate campaigns, multi-award-winning fashion and street photographer Themba Mbuyisa creates timeless images which can be framed as art.

“I’m inspired by what I see, as clichéd as that sounds,” he says. “I spend a lot of time paging through art and photography books, and my imagination automatically fits what I see into a modern context as inspiration for a campaign shoot.”

Mbuyisa’s incredible eye has bagged him accolades such as the 2016 Elle Style Reporter, Most influential Visual Artist at the Youth Influencer Awards, and Mail & Guardian’s annual 200 Young South Africans. He was also the first African finalist for the Hyères Award at the Villa Noailles Fashion and Photography Festival in France. His client list includes brands such as Netflix, Samson and Brentwood.

For the photographer, being South African is the greatest informer of what he produces. “As a young adult man in South Africa, I constantly delve into issues of identity, of isolation and the topic of intimacy. These three ‘I’s’ are what make up the majority of my personal work, and they tell not only my story, but the stories of those around me.”

Mbuyisa loves to collaborate, as he feels it pushes boundaries for all parties involved. “Having ideas is amazing, but working with a team that can action them is the key to any successful campaign.”

Having achieved incredible success before the age of 30, Mbuyisa is always looking to the future. “Growing beyond photography is definitely a dream. Who knows who I may meet and what I may do which will influence the journey ahead.”

100 Beautiful Things is presented by the V&A Waterfront in celebration of South Africa’s creativity, compassion, ingenuity and resilience. Every week we will be showcasing five amazingly beautiful creative things that make us proud. It is curated in partnership with Platform Creative.