Kyle Weeks was born in Windhoek, Namibia in 1992, and completed his BA degree majoring in Photography from the Sellenbosch Academy of Design and Photography in 2013. He currently lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa.
This series of eighteen Ovahimba Youth Self-Portraits was produced over a three-year period from 2012 to 2014 during multiple visits to the Kunene Region of Northern Namibia.
Over the course of those years I had started by taking studio portraits of people in this area, and soon came to focus the project on young Himba men.
Considering my complex position as the photographer, and the intrinsic power dynamic of portrait photography, I set out to create a series of images in which that dynamic was shifted to favour the sitters. By handing the young men the shutter release, I presented an opportunity for expression through self- portraiture, and lessened my influence over the resulting images.
Consequently, we see them as they like to be seen: traditional, modern and proud of who they are.
This series calls for an end to preconceived visual assumptions, as the hybridization of their youth culture no longer offers such a clear-cut distinction between traditional and contemporary cultural identity.