“What I love about art, in general, is its means of connection to the artist and the viewer. I’m a big believer that as artists we should always leave space for the viewer to draw their own conclusions about how your work makes them feel. That engagement is rewarding.”
Hazel Mphande AKA Hazey Jane simply discribes herself as an artist and photographer based in Pretoria, South Africa. Describing herself still makes her laugh anxiously.
She has a long list of influences but the two that stand out the most for her are Francesca Woodman and Duane Michals. “These two artists mean so much to me, both visually and conceptually.” She discovered Francesca’s work while studying at the Market Photography Workshop. She loves how she transforms herself in the most stunning way using three main instruments, her body, the camera and mostly using natural light. Mpande finds Francesca’s work to be magical and interesting; because she is an introvert and hardly leaves the house so the idea of using a tiny space to the maximum and experiment with it attracted her expressions. Duane’s work taught her the importance of visual narrative possibilities. He creates these narratives within a series of images. She finds his work to be poetic, tragic, and humorous all at once.
The photographer finds her most recent untitled body of work to be her favourite, she finally feels like she’s where she should be creatively. Her work is focused on self-reflection and expression.
“It took me a while to get here where I’m confident about my work. My photography was all over the place for the longest time because I was wanted to explore every genre of photography. Now I’m focused on a single idea (portraiture) which is both thrilling and a relief.”
Mpande initially, wanted to be a painter. But when she discovered photography and the idea that she couldcreate images, she was instantly filled with excitement. The meaning of photography is vast but for Mpande it allows her to say a lot without using words- at all. She experiences the medium as flexible and adaptable.
” I am incredibly a visual person. I spend most of my time watching films and old music videos, old photography books etc. I am always looking and searching for images everywhere.”
Mphande’s work is reflective but far from simple, her depictions of self; carry a sense of magic in the way she sees herself. Identity is at the center of the imagery she captures. She expresses her authority in depicting black womanhood through portraiture with their representation being at the forefront.