Through the Lens Collective is a collaborative educational and developmental photographic space created by South African visual artists and educators who share a commitment to, and appreciation of, the photographic medium on the African continent. Through photographic training the collective aims to develop creativity, critical thinking and professional practice. Photographic practice is undergoing rapid change. What is of paramount importance is personal vision and voice. Through an educational workspace, including a studio, a darkroom, digital post production and a gallery, the collective aims to assist visual artists/photographers in refining their photographic practice, expanding their visual grammar and developing their narrative skills. In addition, what is of importance is the creation of sustainable structures that support contemporary photographic practice. Our courses are aimed at anyone who is passionate about the medium of photography and wishes to use the camera as an expressive tool.
Who are we?
Michelle Loukidis received her photographic training at TUT in Tshwane. She worked as a highly successful wedding photographer for over 10 years. However, her keen interests in photographic development led her to the Market Photo Workshop, in Newtown, where she has trained and mentored young photographers for over 15 years. Many students have then gone on to receive important grants and mentorships through her guidance. Through this process she has also helped train photographers from other African countries, running workshops in Sudan, Kinshasa and Cape Verde.
A fine artist herself, she has exhibited her photographs in solo and group exhibitions. Recent exhibits include a solo exhibition, Recesses, at Res gallery, participation in group shows at the Turbine Art Fair, The Fringe and at the AVA gallery in Cape Town. She also participated in the first Everard Read Photographic Mesh series (2018), which aimed at acquainting audiences with critical photographic practices.
Michelle prefers working in film using medium format cameras, where she feels a certain amount of the magic of photography is still retained. She works and lives in Johannesburg.
Portrait by Flávio Cardoso
Michelle Harris is a Johannesburg based artist and educator. Her mixed media practice traverses the mediums of installation, sculpture, photography and public art/performance.
She graduated from the University of Johannesburg (formerly Wits Technikon) in 2005 with a B-Tech in Fine Arts (cum laude) and holds a Teacher Training Certificate in Arts, Culture and Design from the same institution. Michelle has completed curatorial internships at the Sasol Wax Art Award and the Johannesburg Art Gallery.
Michelle produced her first solo exhibition in 2006 and has participated in a number of public art projects and group exhibitions since. She is also a senior trainer at the Market Photo Workshop, Johannesburg, where she has taught Visual Literacy, Visual Culture, and Narrative Development for the past 10 years. Her educational focus is on representation and the history of photography in Africa, with the aim of developing more critical and ethical approaches to photographic practice in our local context.
Cover image by Anna Sango