When I was to leave for America on a long-planned holiday things didn’t quite go as planned, and life took a different, creative turn. When my Visa didn’t come through in time, my whole trip was unfortunately cancelled. Before I was to go, the wonderful community of Fujifilm South Africa sponsored me an XT-1 camera to document my American trip with. So I decided to use a camera a little differently, if not for a trip – and began transforming myself into 15 different iconic women that have inspired me, or had somehow – been a part of my childhood.
All styling, make-up and hair was done by myself, and having a job as a photographer, this personal project was going on at night when styling usually only started happening at about 11pm, and each shoot finishing close to 2am. I did all shoots by myself with the camera’s built-in WiFi system, that can be activated with a phone app, where you control the lights, aperture and shutter settings from your phone, an amazing feature of Fuji’s.
"Watching Whoopi Goldberg’s movies as a kid I definitely wanted to try Whoopi as one of my Iconic Women."
These aren’t fashion icons, as Dian Fossey will never be remembered for her style – but for the work she did. I wanted to show a piece of my own history and to what diverse things we were exposed to as children. In two weeks I finished this project, and made sure each woman was represented as close to her original self, as possible with look, mannerisms, era and mood.
"When I heard Back to Black, I was in love. I feel that Amy died too soon, with most of her songs still inside of me."
The idea is also not to look 100% like any of these women, I wanted to make that clear – as I never fully will, but this is rather a tribute shoot, and it was ultimately a challenge to see what I could accomplish.
"Frida Kahlo, the Mexican artist was my first attempt at transforming myself into a different person. Frida had a unique style in both, her art and style of dress."
"Janis Joplin was a singer during the Woodstock era, and even though she had her own demons to fight with, the world loved her, and she will always be remembered for her free style and big smile."
"Dian Fossey will be remembered for her work with the gorillas in Rwanda. She both soft, but strong."
"Edith Piaf was such a well known French singer, and was also famous for her iconic brows and her mannerisms with hands."
Tretchikoff’s Blue Lady
"Vladimer Tretchikoff had a very personal painting style, and many people had a Tretchikoff in their home. His Chinese Girl piece was one of his most iconic works."
"My father had a vinyl collection, and Nana Mouskouri, the Greek singer, was a regular sound in our home."
Cho Cho San – From Puccini’s Opera Madama Butterfly
"In my grandmother’s home, we listened to Beethoven on the high-fi, and watched Aida on VHS, as my grandmother is a lover of the classical operas and music."
"Cindy was the ultimate model of the 80’s and early 90’s, we all knew the Charlie ads with the beautiful Cindy."
Dame Margot Fonteyn
"Having had done ballet for many years I used to watch videos of all of the ballet masters, and Margot Fonteyn was ever graceful and magnificent."
"Madonna had been able to transform herself so many times, but the 80’s Madonna is a look no one will ever forget."
"During the apartheid’s era my father used to tell me about the singer Miriam Makeba, and I just always seemed to have a warm nature to her."
"Audrey had nothing but style and grace, and always had this mysterious way about her. At my home many VHS tapes existed with Audrey’s films."