Johnny Lai Sang

The other side of South African fashion




"My photography journey started at the age of 12 when I received my first film camera, an old Praktica SLR with a 50mm lens. Initially I was more interested in landscapes, however, I ended up working in Johannesburg where landscape photography jobs can be few and far between. Having always been fascinated by the alluring world of people photography, I asked my friends to model for me. This passion grew so I took a course in studio lighting and the art of make-up. 

Eventually I took the plunge and dedicated myself to the captivating world of fashion. In 2006 I received an accreditation to attend my first SA Fashion Week in Johannesburg, and from then on I was hooked.

This exhibition, entitled ‘The other side of South African fashion’ is the result of the last seven years spent covering the various fashion-week events in Johannesburg and Cape Town. I was primarily shooting ‘ramp’, but I quickly became bored of the limitations of the photographers’ pit at the end of the ramp; it was hard to get creative with my shooting. Since I was becoming a familiar face at these events, I eventually managed to get back-stage access. It can be quite hectic back-stage, but much more interesting and rewarding to photograph. Behind the curtains and off-limits to most attendees, the glam and chaos of fashion week are juxtaposed and the real magic happens!"

- Johnny Lai Sang


Opening for First Thursdays on July 6th 2017 at 6:00 pm || Free entrance || Bar open
Exhibition at the Alliance Française du Cap from July 6th to July 28th 2017