Subject Matter Art


Interview with one of our award winning artists: Michael Meyersfeld


Michael Meyersfeld Studio


Michael Meyersfeld is an award-winning fine art photographer based in Johannesburg, South Africa. His work explores constructed societal patterns which translate into his characteristically eerie yet somber photographs. Meyersfeld’s process requires the complete immersion into his subject, riddling the images with a degree of solitude and stillness. His work is currently on exhibit at the Pretoria Art Museum, South Africa (28 Oct’ – 31 Jan’ 2016).

SM: You recently  had  an  exhibition  in  Johannesburg.  First  off,  congratulations! The  selection  of  art  is beautiful. It seems that you naturally fell into photography, through your studies and time in advertisement. How did you develop away from commercial photography towards Fine Art photography?


MM: My involvement with photography began with Fine Art, and that was when I was a teenager, and also during the period working in the family steel business. It was only when the business got sold that I entered the world of commercial photography. During this period I was very active with exhibition work, and in the last four years I have committed myself exclusively to my Fine Art work.


SM: As an artist, why does photography remain your preferred medium of expression?


MM: It is what I have grown up with. It has become an extension of my being.


Michael Meyersfeld, Sea Point Swimmers

Michael Meyersfeld, Sea Point Swimmers


SM: You  often  mention  that  you  instinctively  take  photographs,  through  this you aim  to  capture  an essence. Have  you  always  been  in  touch  with  your  intuition? And, how did this  relationship  with yourself develop?


MM: My photography broadly falls into two categories – those images that are staged, and those that are observed. It is my observed imagery that are taken on an almost instant and positive understanding of their relevance. My favourite images have always been accompanied by a heightened excitement when confronting something I consider to be important. When the relevance and the aesthetics combine, my tail wags furiously.


Michael Meyersfeld, Boys on the Roof

Michael Meyersfeld, Boys on the Roof



SM: The inspiration behind your latest exhibition pertains to the construction of stillness that societies and individuals create as a means to find peace. Where do you find your own stillness?


MM: Stillness is not a permanent state of being. Perhaps like happiness, it is something that needs to be constantly worked on. I find my own stillness in many and varied places, but mainly in our home with my wife. I find it in reading, in music, and in the appreciation of being.


SM: The colour palette within your photographs is extremely distinct. Was this an evolution or have you always found  that  the  effect  created  through  your  palette is  an  effective  means  to  portray  the stillness you establish?


MM: For many years, I only photographed in black and white. I am more comfortable in monochromatic hues, and as such my use of colour tends to be subtle and muted. For me bright colours negate stillness.


Michael Meyersfeld, Sea Point Pool 1979

Michael Meyersfeld, Sea Point Pool 1979



SM: When looking at your photographs, there is in a tension between the stillness that your photographs portray  and  a  layer  of  humorous,  mystical  surrealism. This  draws  an  immense  curiosity  from  the audience, or me at least, to understand the narrative behind each photograph. Are these narratives predominantly fictional or do they reflect a semblance of your reality?


MM: When anyone is drawn strongly to the creation of something, there has to be a semblance of the author’s reality. Is it tension, or does the simplicity of the imagery evoke the illusion of tension?


SM: I would like to round of this series of questions with an absolutely unrelated question. Which book are you reading right now or did you last read?


MM: “ Wages of Guilt ” –  Ian Buruma;    “ Escape from Freedom” –  Erich Fromm.


Michael Meyersfeld, Bare City Comfort

Michael Meyersfeld, Bare City Comfort


Michael Meyersfeld StudioMichael Meyersfeld’s Studio


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