Monday, 5 September 2011

FIGURE STUDY by Jennifer Khumalo

FIGURE STUDY by Jennifer Pickett

I saw Jenny's work at her degree show in the summer of 2008 at the Truman Brewery Building in Brick Lane London where she exhibited a series of self portraits fashioned by scanning her body. I wrote to her asking if she might be interested in photographing me. She was but asked me for my history and why I felt I wanted people to photograph me and whether there was any particular message I wanted to get across. I sent the required information adding that I had had a number of conventional portraits done already but that I relished the unusual and that her work fitted the bill.

However, it was not until February 2010 that we met, at her mother's  house near Redhill, and chatted about what we were going to do just before she jetted off to undertake a few month's voluntary work in South Africa......some 19 months later, the shoot took place! In the interim, Jenny had fallen in love with South Africa and had extended her she had accepted the offer of a job as a co-ordinator with a charity and then became a BTEC trainer. Nevertheless, we stayed in contact by email and so  I received regular bulletins about her work over there. She returned briefly in the summer of 2011 so I seized the chance and we arranged the shoot or rather, the scan. She dusted off her scanner which she had not used for almost three years and, indeed, it was fortunate that she still had it as she was selling all her worldly goods to cover the cost of her return to South Africa.

The shoot took place in Redhill on 5th September 2011 and it was very interesting and great fun. It was unlike anything I had ever done before in the project and produced some unique results including this study  of my head and shoulders which Jenny and I both agreed was the image which worked best. I was like a child with a new toy with Jenny guiding me expertly and setting up each scan. I  am so pleased with the images she produced which, as she promised, are totally unique and absolutely wonderful. They give the impression that I am floating in a green sea and every so often I come to the surface to look at what is on the other side before I sink back into the depths of the ocean.

Jenny has returned to South Africa and has sent her first message and is clearly enjoying the new challenges. She is a lovely woman with a delightful demeanour and has such determination that I have no doubt that she will succeed in whatever she does whether in the townships of South Africa or elsewhere and with or without a camera or a scanner.

Jenny and me

View Jennifer's original work here  -

POSTSCRIPT - I heard today (9th October 2016) that Jennifer is living in South Africa and has now got married and has a little girl. 

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