We chat to the man behind The Expressionist, South African artist and photographer Anthony Bila, and share 10 of his top street style pics.
1. Who is Anthony Bila?
I’m a 20-something-year-old born in the dusty township of Tembisa where I grew up with a love for learning, information, creativity and creation. I’m my father and mother’s son, a brother to my siblings, a friend and to some an enemy. I’m a creator, someone who just wants to bring Africa to the world and the world to Africa through a number of creative disciplines.
2. How did you get to where you are today?
I got to where I am through love. I love being able to create and make things that other people can enjoy, interpret and critique. Growing up in Tembisa there wasn’t a whole lot of ‘extramural activities’ and so, my escape was books. I read a lot and travelled in my mind’s eye, all over the world. I learned about art, architecture and photography to name a few. Once I had the means, I used all these outlets to express myself, throughout my life, and voila, The Expressionist was born, so I slowly discovered who I am and that brought me to this point.
3. Favourite photographer?
In all honesty, I don’t have one, I’m constantly coming across work I admire from all over the world, including South Africa, but I don’t have any one particular photographer whom I admire over others.
4. What gear do you work with?
I shoot with a Nikon D600, 50mm f/1.4 Nikon lens mostly. I have some other lenses like the 24-70mm f.2.8 and speedlights, mounted camera lights etc. but those are for specialized shooting circumstances, I like to keep it simple.
5. How would you describe SA street style?
I think for the most part it’s lacklustre. South Africans have amazing style in pockets, I think we have so much richness in our own culture, which we should be taking advantage of versus replicating the styles we see at European fashion weeks.
6. Three blogs you follow?
Again, I often check out what is happening in the blogosphere but I am not a subscriber to any blogs in that weeks go by without me checking them religiously. The first few blogs I started following though were Tommy Ton’s JakandJil.com, Scott Schumann’s The Sartorialist and StreetPeeper. In recent history I follow more architectural and art form blogs than fashion.
7. Highlight of your career?
Definitely travelling with Woolworths to London for their Re: Jeans campaign, it was my first trip to London and the experience was incredible. The fashion, the culture and music festival we attended were an eye opener for me, personally.
8. Any tips for aspiring photographers?
Learn the rules, then bend and break them. I think it’s important to find your own ‘voice’, so be authentic, be real and don’t imitate. Also, it’s important to get into it for the right reason, that being passion and love, that’ll carry you through the rough patches.
What’s your favourite street style picture? Tell us by leaving a comment below.