Photographer Hana Jayne Sho’s series Boys in Light // The Intimate Moments of Collaboration

Forms of flesh awash with pale pink hues, steeped in the sounds Lana Del Rey’s youthful lullabies. Tendrils of smoke twist and turn off the tips of cigarettes, held gently between tentative fingers. Nostalgic desire captured by the grain of film. Intimacy found in those moments of home.

It was a Tuesday night. Photographer, Hana Sho, ventured over to a friend’s apartment in the Cape Town city bowl. Armed with only a studio light, a desk lamp, DIY gels and a few rolls of film she adopted her usual modus operandi of spontaneity and experimentation. “We’re all friends, and during the shoot it kind’ve felt like what they would usually do before going to a party, except I was documenting it. Have a few drinks, smoke cigarettes and try on each other’s clothes…It almost felt like a mini production team. Adam turns out to be a hella good Art Director. Alex popped in for some Art Direction, and Mziyanda pulled through with some bomb styling.”

Hana’s photographic work spans the space of portraiture, editorials, fashion and documentary style images. “When I shoot it’s always a collaboration.” She often goes for a walk with the model before the shoot – as a means to put them at ease. “I find that walking around and getting to know somebody makes them more comfortable, and whatever mood their feeling in that moment reflects in the photographs.” Hana also values collaboration as a space of learning, “from my experience, collaborative work is always better and has other layers of meaning that I wouldn’t have thought of… I’ve learned so much from the collaborators I’ve had the pleasure of working with.”

After discovering her mother’s old Nikon from the 90s, she bought some film and started taking photographs of her friends. “I realized film gave a more three-dimensional affect. I can’t describe it, but it’s so much more textured and alive.”

For Boys in Light, Hana took the opportunity to play with light and explore expressions of youth on film. “My concepts are always based on people and how they portray themselves – everyone’s just trying to figure themselves out; experimenting, having fun, making mistakes and learning from them. I think I’ve managed to capture those sweet in between moments where everyone kind of forgets.” She described a shift in the atmosphere when the lights used in her images were turned on, “It felt like we stepped into another realm where everyone could express their alter egos.”

“I think collaboration is definitely an important part of learning and developing as a young artist, whatever the medium may be.”

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