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Photography by Fausto Benecatti

Flipping the Lens with Fausto Becatti and The Bioscope’s Camera Club

Last week, The Bioscope Theatre, in collaboration with The College of Digital Photography, hosted its second installment of The Camera Club. The talk series aims both to showcase and inspire up-and-coming photographers, through intimate discussions between artists and audiences. In dialogue with a series of images, photographers unmask stories from the other side of the lens. It’s an account of the creative minutia: the seconds before the light hit that spot, the happenings outside the frame, the moments before a subject looked up at the lens just so.

This week showcased Johannesburg director and photographer, Fausto Becatti. Many will know his work from the Hunters Dry advert, ‘Global Love’, which featured artist AKA and was shot in multiple locations throughout the world. Becatti has also directed music videos, including Spoek Mathambo’s ‘Awufuni’, and more recently Alice Phoebe Lowe’s ‘Society’.

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When describing the making of ‘Society’, Becatti articulates a rare moment of untampered creative freedom. It was as though he was adding motion to his stills: his photographic eye brought to the video image. It’s an example, he told us, of the ways in which creative practices feed one another.  In developing his artistic identity, Becatti has discovered a seeping of one creative life into the next. A book, in dialogue with a drawing, in dialogue with music, in dialogue with an image.

Another piece of wisdom, drawn from Becatti’s creative practice, is to photograph daily. He speaks about his stylistic growth as a matter of habit: forcing himself to capture one image every day and upload it to Instagram, regardless of whether he deemed it perfect or not. Embedded in this practice has been a mantra to ‘do’ and ‘not think’. Indeed, in articulating how he works, Becatti seemed to be describing a meditative process, in which he learnt to set aside all preconceptions about ‘the good photo’. His own aesthetic expectations, as well as those of others, were presented as the biggest obstacle to his photography, which sought to move, uninhibited, with his inner intuition. “Honesty is original”, he told us.

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Initially, Becatti found himself regularly photographing his subjects from behind, alone, in moments of reflection. It was a compositional pattern that developed organically, born of his intention to capture candid moments of stillness, when people were unaware they are being watched. More recently, he has been drawn to images with a story: the sort of shots that prompt viewers to ask questions about the scenes depicted, or to speculate about the lives and relationships of the subjects. Having travelled extensively around the world (the US, Germany, India, Mauritius, Japan, the UK), Becatti’s images also tell a human story — both of diversity and connection. It’s ordinary people, captured cinematically, with enough depth and colour, to reveal their (and our) extraordinariness.

Stay tuned for the next Camera Club. It offers a rare glimpse into a photographer’s worldview, through the people, colours, places, and juxtapositions that capture their attention. These conversations not only allow us to explore an image, beyond what is captured in the frame. They also shatter the boundaries between artist and audience, which so often inhibit us from making our first creative move.

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