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Published on ArtPremium Magazine Winter 2020, page 109.
Justin Keene is a fine art photographer based in London. His photographic work explores the relationship between identity and a sense of belonging in South Africa. He has been highlighted in various platforms, festivals, and publications.
Justin’s independent projects reframe the documentary approach as a collaborative process with the people he photographs. His work reviews the ethics of photographic practice and its impact on contemporary art in South Africa. Justin reflects on concepts of self in relation to cultural identity and belonging as a way of interpreting the country’s political history.
Justin explores South Africa as a post-colony – working under the backdrop of the country’s colonial legacy, his work challenges the viewer to position themselves in relation to history, creating a renewed vision for the future. By focusing on youth, Justin’s work forms part of contemporary photographic consciousness in South Africa to reformulate the gaze of photography in Africa. His projects seek to create a renewed visual economy for the country; drawing on the significance of photography for identity in South Africa; departing from associations of documentary realism in providing a critique of historic media representation.
His work constitutes a collaboration between the artist and the South African people after a historic, nonautonomous representation of the country’s people. Moving forward he intends to produce a book of his current work that explores his own family history in South Africa; focusing on research methods as a way of providing contextual meaning to his narrative.