Justin Dingwall : Advocacy Through Photography

Through his works, Johannesburg-based artist and photographer Justin Dingwall aims to portray figures that speak to particular issues, often providing unique perspectives on African beauty and humanity. Dingwall conveys his art beyond the professional and echoes the desire and need of many people to realize that beauty is non-conforming.

With an eye on the unusual and avenues less travelled, Dingwall uses the knowledge he gained from his photography studies to create striking, unique images that resonate with emotions and challenge perceptions of beauty, particularly in South Africa, where he grew up.

Beauty is Non-Conforming

Justin Dingwall is well-known for his unconventional approach to expressing African beauty. Dingwall uses his photographs to smash racial stereotypes, as well as highlight the strength of diversity.

As an example, albinism and vitiligo, which are taboo and often discriminated against, are beautifully depicted in his captivating portraits. To express his message, Dingwall also uses unusual tools like paper, water, and animals like butterflies, snakes, and birds against contrasting backgrounds.

Going beyond fashion and race, Dingwall attempts to create a series of images that connect with humanity and encourage people to question their own perceptions of beauty.

Justin Dingwall’s Recognizable Works

The works of Justin Dingwall have been exhibited both locally and internationally. Numerous awards have been presented to him, including the SA Taxi Foundation Art Award 2015, Sasol New Signatures 2014, and IPA-International Photography Awards 2013.

One of his notable works is his recent “Rerouted” series in collaboration with fellow Johannesburg-based fashion designer Roman Handt. This piece portrays the clothing and art fusion that encapsulates the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions on travel by illustrating miniature motorcycles, planes, and bicycles in striking images, as well as showing the unexpected paths we all need to take to progress as a society.

Through refashioning found objects, toys, and luggage, the works are not tied to a specific fashion theme or era. These, instead, evoke a contemporary feel without being fixed to any specific period of time.

Among his Rerouted pieces are “Illusion” and “Wheel of Life,” which incorporate miniature bicycles as a stylishly striking headpiece and eyepiece. On the other hand, “Wayfaring” and “Ascent” depict the necessity and entanglement of travel in one’s life using miniature planes intricately incorporated into the model’s beaded hair structure.

His other works include the “Albus” series, which explores the aesthetics of albinism in contrast to idealized perceptions of beauty. Individuals with albinism face multiple concerns in relation to human rights, such as stigmatization, discrimination, and harmful practices in Africa until today.

Feelings Unkept

Through his art, Justin Dingwall aims to express his feelings without limits. “I do what I do for the love of new experiences. My imagery is not bound by language or culture. I want my work to speak for itself and for people to interpret it in their own way. I want people to be affected by my images. As long as someone is feeling something, I am achieving my goals,” Dingwall expresses.

Dingwall’s intention for art and photography is to celebrate beauty in difference. To him, the images go beyond race or fashion; he desires to create a series of artwork that appeals to the human spirit and makes people question what beauty truly is.

Furthermore, Dingwall considers his work as a constant process of learning. “There is no one piece or one series that represents me. My work represents the world around me and my attempt at trying to understand it. It is my way of working through my perceptions of society,” the artist concludes.

Discover More about Justin Dingwall

Justin Dingwall’s works are striking, unique, and thought-provoking. The images resonate with emotions and challenge perceptions of beauty, particularly in South Africa, while allowing himself to express and interpret his works not bound by language or culture. It is his hope that the voice he imparts will resonate with people of all kinds.

Check out Justin Dingwall and his artwork on his Instagram page.

Reverie is an artwork by Justin Dingwall - photo art gallery

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