The artist mystically explores themes in his life such as identity, sexuality, spirituality and belonging through photography employing the male form as inspiration and as metaphor. It is his outward expression of an inner journey.
Although his own artistic style is ever evolving, his work is often described as dream-like, meditative, natural and stirring. He approaches each project by seeking an authentic connection to the work which often include research, writing, self reflection and experimenting with various photography styles and techniques. Another part of his approach is to get a deeper sense of the people he photographs through intentional dialogue in an effort to establish connections between the subject and intent of each project.
His work seeks to find a unique place within the canon of contemporary queer art.
Hannes van der Merwe was born in South Africa and started his career as a commercial photographer after receiving his Graphic Design and Photography Diploma from the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and assisting renowned local and international photographers in Cape Town.
He moved to Vancouver in 2012 and whilst still working as a commercial photographer, he gradually started pursuing photography as an art practice. It was during the pandemic that he created his first body of work for an online exhibition called Brave. A bold venture (for him) into the study of the male form and an exploration of self expression and identity through black and white imagery.
Courses I have completed:
2001 National Diploma in Graphic Design and Photography
2022 BOYS!BOYS!BOYS! Photography Course by The Little Black Gallery - London (Course leader Paul McDonald)
2021 Brave - online exhibition - Vancouver
2022 THE CLASS OF 2022 (from the BOYS! BOYS! BOYS! Photography Course) - online
2023 BOYS! BOYS! BOYS! for Sydney World Pride - Working Dog Gallery - Sydney
2023 BOYS! BOYS! BOYS! Photo Book - Published by Kehrer Verlag - Curated by Ghislain Pascal, Director - The Little Black Gallery, London. 2020