WitchFest

 

Heavy metal has always had a place in my heart. It was always the place that I felt that no matter how different you were, or felt, it was a place that allowed you in with no second questions. Growing up on the east, a lot of my friends were in heavy metal bands at some point, it was just a way of life. We would all be underage in a bar, head banging to our friends band while trying to get drinks and dodge the cops.

When we heard about witchfest, all of us lost our minds. We couldn't believe that the bands we had listened to for years, were actually coming to South Africa. And to our city. In the past, all one could do to watch these bands is get the dvd, or try save up and go to a metal festival over seas, which pretty much never happened.

Unfortunately metal has always had a negative reputation. Some of that from fact, but more so from fiction. Witchfest was particularly affected by this. The venues had changed 4 times due to religious groups getting involved, and due to this, lost sponsorship. Eventually baseline in Newtown allowed the show. With camping in the CBD. Waking up, and opening your tent to jhb skyline was pretty dam metal if you ask me.

This show was the largest metal show in Africa, and international bands from around the world performed, such as cannibal corpse, hatebreed, aborted, and flesh god opocolcps.

This is what inspired this series. The love for the dark. The love for metal. Fending off the stereotyping of a small group of people, I created these portraits. I was looking for the confrontational, the images that look back at you, allow you to see them. Unforgiving, and humanizing. The reminder of similarly between viewer and sitter. Finding oneself within the eyes of each of these people.

© Paul Samuels Photography / paul@paulsamuels.co.za

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