Bleda, Elsa
Born 1988 in Aix-les Bains, France
Lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa
Elsa Bleda’s nocturnal cityscapes began as a personal exploration of her adopted hometown, Johannesburg, with a distinct focus on light and its absence. Despite it being deeply anchored in a specific locale, her work permeates with an air of haunting universality through its use of long-exposure photography: moving elements and passers-by are blurred, while the ubiquitous fluorescent glare of neon signs remains sharply in focus. Bearing an unconventional yet strong visual identity, Bleda’s night works are so aptly described as post-future gothic, uniquely composed through the use of light as well as its absence, in juxtaposition to her daylight works which are often dreamy and softer with color plays and an eerie mood. As a child, Bleda travelled often and eventually settled in South Africa in her teenage years. Whilst studying music production, Bleda continued to develop her passion for photography and film. Her first major collaboration was shooting a global campaign for Apple, focusing on the underground artists of South Africa and was shown on all major billboards around the world. She recently became the face of Lexus’ latest campaign “New Horizons”. In 2016, preeminent creative director Trevor Beattie chose Elsa as one of his ‘Famous Five’ and, as a result, she appeared on the cover of The Drum magazine. She recently showed at Paris Photo with AFRONOVA GALLERY and Magnin-a Gallery. Bleda has been featured in multiple local and international publications including the Washington Post.
Elsa Bleda, Untitled, 2014 – ongoing, From the series, Nighscapes, Johannesburg, 60 x 80 cm, Edition of 10, Courtesy AFRONOVA GALLERY