It Must Be Built From Ashes
Justin’s project It Must be Built from Ashes centres on young people growing up in Mitchells Plain - one of Cape Town’s notorious areas overridden by gangsterism and crime. The work attempts to confront the negative representation of Mitchells Plain’s youth as portrayed by mainstream media, depicting young people searching for an identity outside of crime. The history of Mitchells Plain and its geographic location are significant to its sense of community; the area originated as a relocation area for people removed from Cape Town’s inner-city. Justin’s work draws on this history to create an intimate social dialogue with the people of Mitchells Plain, providing a voice for people who often struggle to be heard. Given the importance of South Africa’s historic documentation through ‘struggle photography,’ Justin’s work seeks to productively renew the country’s visual economy in contemporary contexts by providing an autonomous image-making process for the people he photographs. He works largely with medium-format film cameras as a way of slowing down the pace of his practice and to develop more personal relationships with the people photographed.