Thembi Mthembu

Thembi Mthembu is a fine art photographer based in Durban, South Africa. She was born a twin in 1992 at eNseleni, a small township in Richards Bay.

Mthembu holds a B-tech in photography, obtained at the Durban University of Technology in 2017. Her choice to focus on fine art nude photography as her specialist area was motivated by her own story. Growing up she endured humiliation about her body and struggled to accept it. In her three years of studying photography, she realised that she was not alone and that there were many bodies living their lives like a shadow. She also looked at the wide-spread recourse to cosmetic surgery as a quest to bodily perfection.

Mthembu uses photography as an instrument of self-discovery and to educate others to love, celebrate and embrace their God-given bodies, no matter the shape or size. Her work is mostly in black and white because it is abstract – when seeing a black and white photograph you are already looking at a strange world. She also uses conceptual themes such as sculptural form, body paint, and other natural elements. Much of the work is presented as performance art with contemporary dance. Some photographs are just taken to tell the hard truth about one's body, like a reflection in a mirror. All these are done either in a studio or on location, using creative lighting and photographic techniques.

Exhibitions at the KZNSA