Kgomotso Neto Tleane [ Umuzi Alumni ] is a South African photographer with the mouldings of rural life and trimmings of fast paced city living. Born and raised in Ga-Maja, the Johannesburg based photographer creates imagery that effortlessly reflects both the grime and glory of the city he inhabits.
Neto’s body of work makes us aware of our ignorance. From a privileged perspective there are dimensions of South Africa that many of us don’t experience. We interact with them on a surface level, artificially engaging with people and places we don’t understand. Be it the taxi driver, the recycling skaters or the construction worker, we have our preexisting visions that block any true representation.
Neto’s work challenges these stereotypes on two levels. His style is classic and strong, an aesthetic that the west is familiar with. By linking this aesthetic with an unfamiliar subject, Neto invites us to reconsider our views. Secondly, he frames his subjects in powerful and uplifting compositions, giving us an opportunity to challenge our relationships with others. This positioning also confronts some of his subjects to reconsider their own self-image and the spaces they inhabit. Neto’s passion for storytelling therefore changes people and spaces by presenting them in a new light.
This aesthetic ensured Neto’s acceptance into the 2018 New York Portfolio Review. This platform gave him the opportunity to get feedback on his work from global industry giants. Back in South Africa, he is currently freelancing, specializing in portraiture and editorials. Neto works mostly with ad agencies across South Africa, supporting their campaigns with his images, while pushing his own projects on the side.