DEMONSTRATING a photographic story set in the late 1960s, photographer Xavier Vahed’s Tradition is on display at Fat Tuesday Gallery in Hillcrest until Saturday.
In a statement, the artist says the exhibition captures an ordinary weekend lived by a couple in their early fifties. Although they are physically bound together, over the years they have become emotionally disconnected. The series aims to capture this, often using the braid as the dividing line between the husband and wife.
Tonight caught up with him to learn more about his work and why he chose to capture photographs on the concept of tradition.
“Over the past few months, I have been thinking a great deal about weddings and the traditions that surround them. I have photographed weddings from all over the cultural spectrum, ranging from the conventional to the more adventurous. During the process, I began to think about the often strange traditions which have become integral to the wedding process and in doing so, gradually invented some traditions of my own. I started to imagine a culture in which it is customary for a couple to braid their hair together on their wedding day – literally binding themselves together.”
Vahed was introduced to photography at 16 when his father bought his first DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) camera and told him not to touch it.
“Being the curiously disobedient teen that I was, I started playing with it,” he laughs. “After the discovery of the camera, every free moment I had was spent learning about photography. I was hooked. I spent hours on the internet and flipped through books and magazines looking at various photographers’ work. I began studying, trying to see what they did to achieve those results. It was quite early on in high school that I realised photography was the career I was going to pursue.”
Asked about his biggest challenge as a photographer, Vahed says there was a period when he hated most of the work he was doing: “I had lost my creative drive and was working as a photographer rather than being one. ”
So what can people expect from this exhibition? Vahed hopes people will find the work exciting: “The tone of the work leans towards the depressing and awkward, but I hope this sparks conversation rather than leaving people feeling sombre.”
• Tradition ends Saturday at Fat Tuesday Gallery, 5 Bellevue Rd, Kloof. Call 031 717 2785/9.