Golden Youth

Front cover image

Photography by Oliver Kruger. Text by Sean O'Toole

Buy now Not yet printed due - 06/20

9788887569599
hardcover, non-returnable
L'Artiere
Territory: USA & Canada
Size: 9.5 in x 12 in
Pages: 74
Illustrations: 39 color
Name of series: L'Artiere Collection

RRP $60.00

  • Golden Youth is, quite simply, a portrait study of some Johannesburg youth at a very particular moment in time

Golden Youth is not a document of any particular Joburg sub-culture, nor is it a study of consumerism. It does not explain the izikhothane, those cloth-burning youths from Soweto who are the latest subject of written enquiry by pedigreed explainers of things. Golden Youth is, quite simply, a portrait study of some Johannesburg youth at a very particular moment in time, the city's time as much as their personal biographies.

"It is a very thin slice of people seen at a very specific time," says Oliver. "It is not a broad statement about Joburg." And yet, he concedes, the idea of Joburg is contained in every portrait. "This particular look and style could come from nowhere else."

Oliver Kruger (b. 1977) is a South African photographer, working predominantly within the discipline of portraiture. Kruger explores the individual behind the facade of uniformed identity. By isolating members of visually homogenous groups, Kruger's photographs reveal conformism to be an often nonsensical pursuit of community. Investigating the notion of assimilated or adopted identity, geographically or culturally alien to the individuals that pursue them, Kruger exposes tensions between assumed and rejected identities and the resulting incongruities. Kruger's portraits capture the idiosyncrasies of the vulnerable individual beneath the uniform of pomp and ceremony, be it the costumes of sailors or that of a flamboyant emerging middle class. Kruger approaches his subjects with passive curiosity rather than subjective confrontation, adopting a typological strategy of unaffected objectivity.