In photography there is a reality so subtle that it becomes more real than reality.
— Alfred Stieglitz
Contorted forms captured by a click. An unapologetic gaze confronts reflected and refracted frames. Intimate moments translated in a myriad of pixels. Cherry, scarlet and blood-red hues punctuate the picture of performed gestures. As an introvert Kyle Strydom notes that he’s always used art as a vehicle to articulate his thoughts. “The lens is a great medium for me to capture my thoughts and release them into the world, so I respect photography – it is my voice.”
After joining the working-world straight after school, Kyle took the risk to pursue his passion of photography full-time. “That’s what I did, a year ago I saved up, got a camera, quit my job and with a lot of motivation and great support from friends I started shooting.” In his practice, he integrates conceptual projects, editorial shoots and event photography. So far it’s been, “a rollercoaster of ups and downs.” However, Kyle is determined to continue honing his craft through the lens.
His striking images begin to explore a queer aesthetic embodied by his own identity politics. “Identifying as queer has provided me with a lifestyle where I finally feel free, understood and celebrated but above all, being queer has opened my mind. I now understand myself better than ever before and it has brought me to the fact that there’s a place for everything in this world, there is beauty in everything and it is this part of being queer that has a great influence on my work.”
Interested in the immortalisation of art, Kyle is often disinterested in trends and is rather lured by the notion of creating images that have a sense of timelessness to them. Some of his seminal influences include photographers like Harley Weir, Lea Colombo and David LaChapelle, admiring the unique sense of style they have all cultivated. Artists such as Ren Hang, Robert Mapplethorpe and Terry Richardson have influenced his embrace of the nude human form.
As someone who seems sensitive to their surroundings, Kyle is also influenced by Cape Town. “I draw a lot of inspiration from town… I love walking around, looking at everything and imagining how I can make use of it to tell a story whether it’s finding R8 stockings in the CBD, picking flowers from the sidewalk or drawing inspiration from a conversation.” He often makes the items featured in his work and styles his subjects in a way to convey narrative.