Golden Youth




Eclectic individualism takes a collective identity in these portraits of the youth culture in Johannesburg from Oliver Kruger (1977, South Africa). Working with a melange of source material, with accessories referencing various geographies and time-periods, the youths create new expressions through their appropriation and combination. In Kruger’s careful studio portraits, each piece of clothing takes on significance towards the sitter’s constructed identity, along with the exactly manicured hairstyles and facial grooming, the choice of piercings, tattoos and jewellery. Wearing neutral expressions, the sitters seem all the more detached from the stylistic choices that apparently define them, creating a loop of perceived authenticity and image-conscious artifice. Taken as single portraits, the series demonstrates how a group can ultimately be constructed from individuals seeking to express themselves in a unique way.