Friday, January 13, 2012

On Photography… Koto Bolofo

Your photographs reflect a time past, yet feel modern and intimate…

It’s like tight rope walking, when I take photos; if you sway too much to one side you loose your balance and get stuck in a time period.  I sketch in my mind, in silence, when taking photographs to capture the infinite point of timelessness; neither today, nor the past. It’s a fine line to realize in oneself; how to use your eyes as your ears.


How do you work with your subjects to capture their spirit and execute your vision? Do you approach objects in the same way?

I personally work with no assistants, and do not photograph any subjects immediately; I visit them and grow as a friend.  If I miss a great moment, it will come again, I trust the patterns of a person. I approach objects the same way, I love the expression or word “still life”; It may be still, but it has life. The key in the end is that you have to LOVE people and understand them. My quest is to take the foundation of a person and find their joy.

Lord Snowdon must have been an influential photographer for you to bring forth such a beautiful book of his work…


I relate to the directness of his work.  One of the greatest books he did, Private View, captures the British Art scene in the 60’s—it’s a mind-blowing, cult masterpiece of a book!! His eye has no boundaries; strong and timeless while remaining raw. He’s a killer mix– a master photographer with a great sense and passion for craftsmanship.


Close comment

Detach comments



    January 13, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    love the red photo

  2. Sandy Leonard Snaps

    January 13, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    All this beauty AND Twiggy. Thank you.

  3. mystyleonthoughts

    January 13, 2012 at 3:35 pm

    That first sentence was a perfect descripyion of how I as well see your pictures

  4. Marcel Da Chump

    January 13, 2012 at 3:47 pm

  5. montes Y mills

    January 13, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    what an interesting person. “the key… is that you have to LOVE people.” :) thanks for sharing.

  6. Ría

    January 13, 2012 at 3:48 pm

  7. Meredith

    January 13, 2012 at 3:59 pm

    I love what he said about finding a person’s joy. It is amazing to see when something excites a person and then photograph the light in their eyes. I also like what he said about the patterns of a person. I often feel too rushed in photography feeling that I will miss the moment. But he’s right. A person has a lot of similar moments – you have just never seen them before.

    - Meredith

  8. FashionUm

    January 13, 2012 at 4:13 pm

    Cool article. Fun to read…I suppose these photos are yours – perfect work, as always…
    ADD a PHOTO!


    January 13, 2012 at 4:23 pm

    what a beautiful workspace. the collage above the sink is amazing.

  10. IRENE

    January 13, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    u have a great passion…
    im followin ur work from years,
    what u do is amazing

  11. Yokoo

    January 13, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    I come to your site just about everyday but I never comment. I had to chime in here and say that I love this post. Thank you!

  12. Anonymous

    January 13, 2012 at 5:08 pm

    You nailed it, Scott. EXACTLY when you wrote the key to knowing is “how to use your eyes as your ears”…I couldn’t have said it better!

  13. Sapphire Rose Kaahu

    January 13, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    True Beauty x

  14. athena

    January 13, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    everything looks so nostlagic.

  15. Ophelia

    January 13, 2012 at 5:24 pm

    The second one is beautiful!

  16. Maite Fernández-Urquiza

    January 13, 2012 at 5:28 pm

    Wonderful post. Absolutely inspirating…Thanks.

  17. MAIALA

    January 13, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    This just made me sigh 10 thousand times. Truly inspirational. C’est magnifique Schuman! x

  18. justyna

    January 13, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    haha, I “signed” my camera with the same sticker ;)

  19. Stylosophism

    January 13, 2012 at 5:47 pm

    Interviews with famous photgraphers are always surprising: their answers are simple as just the armony of nature.

  20. mslattery

    January 13, 2012 at 5:51 pm

    I love the images of his equipment – the crumbly translucent nametag on his cases is just divine.

  21. The Fringes

    January 13, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    Love this piece. The photos are splendid! Things like this make me want to be a photographer.

  22. MonMode

    January 13, 2012 at 6:34 pm

    I don’t think the fashion industry as we know it would be possible without photography. There’s nothing like looking at photos of the season’s fresh collections! Love it!


  23. ROXYmodae

    January 13, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    My fave is the one with the suitcases. *feeling inspired* : )

    Check out my blog everyone!

  24. Samina

    January 13, 2012 at 7:18 pm

    Love your pics…

  25. Supal {chevrons and eclairs}

    January 13, 2012 at 8:14 pm

    Such a great philosophy to photography! This was so greatly written “how to use your eyes as your ears” Brilliant

  26. Hannah Y

    January 13, 2012 at 8:27 pm

    Mr. Schuman, you are so inspirational! I wrote about you and your blog in one of my college application essays. Thanks so much!

  27. NY Bred

    January 13, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    i LOVE your photography soo much— i would love if you checked out my blog, as I’m just getting started and would love your feedback.

    thanks! xo

  28. Courtenay

    January 13, 2012 at 11:39 pm

    Thank you for interviewing Koto. He is my greatest photographic hero. No kidding.

    If you are reading this, Mr. Bolofo, you have no idea how much your photography has inspired me. Consistently so astonishingly and perfectly balanced in past and present, just as you said, only more beautifully…I’m happy to get a just a small insight into Koto’s brilliance.

    Do many people know his work? Maybe only the Sartorialists…Lucky us. Could you talk about him more, please? No one seems to know who I’m talking about when I say he is my favorite photographer ever. At least here on the West Coast.

  29. SohoBoy

    January 13, 2012 at 11:53 pm

    Loving the Twiggy photo!

  30. ghostranchguy

    January 14, 2012 at 12:26 am

    i didn’t know they made style like this anymore… the young romantiks are reassuring

  31. nicole

    January 14, 2012 at 3:56 am

    great post! thanks for sharing!
    his work is amazing!


  32. The World Is My Cuttlefish

    January 14, 2012 at 4:16 am

    Such intimate photos. I love the sense of story in them.
    That first paragraph contains a lot. I’d love to hear more on that.

  33. Michelle Lee

    January 14, 2012 at 4:47 am

  34. lilla

    January 14, 2012 at 6:00 am

    very inspiring post. thanks!

  35. Custom Lanyards

    January 14, 2012 at 6:43 am

    Great work dude ! The photography is very nice.

  36. Serdane

    January 14, 2012 at 7:13 am

    Nice Pictures, I love the all black and white one !!

  37. Nat

    January 14, 2012 at 7:15 am

    Agreed! If you love fashion, exotic travel, and international luxury you must absolutely check:


  38. Miiicha

    January 14, 2012 at 9:04 am

    I love your photos…you don’t just capture things but you also capture feelings!

  39. J.Kane

    January 14, 2012 at 9:41 am

    What a beautiful workpalce…

    JK || Http://

  40. anonymous

    January 14, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    These posts are more interesting by the day. Now we get the insiders view of great photographers as well. I guess both sides of the camera have to work in a photo.

  41. Kelly

    January 14, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    Is he wearing Nike dunks?! What a wonderful thing.

  42. Rosalind

    January 14, 2012 at 6:05 pm

    About 6 years ago, my best friend and I went to dinner at a small, quiet restaurant next to our hotel in Milan. There was an elderly gentleman in a wheelchair at the table next to us. We struck up a conversation with him, and to our surprise it was Lord Snowdon! He was charming, down to earth, and a thrill to meet……

  43. Vicki

    January 15, 2012 at 2:23 am

    Am a huge fan of Koto Bolofo’s and was lucky enough to once interview him. he made me scream with laughter for over an hour. Great post!

  44. mak

    January 15, 2012 at 4:16 am

    A fabulous interview with Koto. I agree with you Vicki, he is hilarious! From first seeing him at Design Indaba ( Cape Town, South Africa) to being lucky enough to have dinner with him, his family and some friends, he had us in stiches! Surely one of my memorable moments! His exhibition at Gallery Momo Johannesburg a few years back was the best!

  45. Sophie

    January 15, 2012 at 5:53 am

    I love the red photo- of Twiggy?

  46. Mike Carreiro

    January 16, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Great choice, Koto is one of the greatest photographers of all time!!!

  47. Amy Dowell

    January 16, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    The suitcases are very nice. I also love the red photo. What a great read. Thank you!

  48. xander walker

    January 17, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    I have Koto’s book on the goodwood revival and its always good to hear his insights. “infinite point of timelessness” yes please

  49. Joanna

    January 20, 2012 at 10:51 am

    very sorry Mr Sartorialist but first photo is awful, I mean photos of naked boy and girl. I see no point in taking photos like these.

  50. Andrea

    January 22, 2012 at 4:50 am

    I agree with Joanna, I was a little shocked by the naked photos of the children. Didn’t seem quite appropriate to me

Leave a comment

Related posts