Telling the unfiltered truth through the camera’s lens
CAPE TOWN – Monday marked 306 days since the South African government announced lockdown in the country, in its bid to curtail the spread of the Coronavirus.
When the country went into the initial hard lockdown in March 2020, African News Agency photojournalist Armand Hough started documenting humanitarian events and some of the realities that the lockdown brought, particularly in the Hangberg and Cape Flats areas.
Over a decade ago, Hough used to be a fashion photographer in the middle east. Business was good and he loved the studio, he says, however the superficial nature of some parts of the fashion and advertising industry didn’t sit well with him.
“I wanted something real and authentic to capture. I found that authenticity in photojournalism,” Hough says.
In 2012, he graduated from the London College of Communication (UAL), one of the world's leading institutions for media studies with a masters degree in photojournalism and documentary photography.
Hough captures beautiful raw images with gripping captions that people on social media often describe as “striking” and “powerful”.undefined
“I always try to portray the unfiltered truth through my stories and images, even though it might upset my audience,” Hough says.
He says he feels that too often people want to ignore facts that might make them uncomfortable.
“I try to use the power of photography to open the viewers’ eyes to what is happening around them,” he says.
Hough says he does not think he is any different to other photojournalists, but admits that he might just see the world in his own unique way.
Every story he covers affects him, he says, but adds that he would not want it any other way.
“I feel that in order to tell the most sincere stories, you have to involve yourself and become part of the situation.”
“Sometimes my heart does break, but other times my heart is filled with joy when I find stories about people's happiness.”undefined
Hough has just collaborated with Cape town-based director and cinematographer Jasyn Howes on a short documentary titled “The Best and Worst of Us”.
Howes works with commercials, content and documentaries and has been following “the human’s narrative" Hough’s Instagram page.
He said that he immediately thought of Hough when the Documentary Filmmakers Association of South Africa (DFA) put out a brief for a special Covid-19 grant they had made available.
Howes was chosen as one of six filmmakers to make a short documentary film that related to the current pandemic.
“I knew he would make a great central character and that he had access to many people and places of interest. I wanted Armand to serve as a vehicle into the broader context of lockdown,” Howes told African News Agency (ANA)
Hough says he was surprised at first that Jasyn contacted him because he did not see himself as worthy of being at the centre of such a project.
Howes says he was really taken by how open and willing Hough was to share himself on screen.
The documentary titled “The Best and Worst of Us” is a combination of footage shot with Hough over the course of two days, as well as visual material he has captured on his mobile phone throughout lockdown and stills he has taken with his camera.
It can be found on Vimeo, a video hosting, sharing, and services platform. It was made with the support of the DFA, produced by Fifth Floor Films and Butterfly Films.