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Lethu

Artist Blog by Angelika Kollin

I hold a solid conviction that we never photograph random people or places. If we take the time to slow down and engage in introspection with honesty and patience, we will inevitably become attuned to the underlying common threads that connect us all.

Because my work is never bound to a specific idea or rule, I operate without constraints. More often than not, I photograph individuals guided solely by an innate sense that they are meant to be the protagonists of my next portrait. Occasionally, I'm drawn to photograph someone based on their narrative. However, I consciously attempt to shift my focus away from the narrative itself and instead aim to forge a connection with the individual, one that transcends beliefs and stories.

I describe this connection as tapping into another person's essence - an encounter with their Divinity, which, in my perspective, is a shared attribute inherent in all of us.

The path to discovering his beauty and self-acceptance was difficult for 19-year-old Lethu. At just six months old, a devastating fire ravaged his face and hands in the township where his family resided, forever changing his life. Undergoing numerous reconstructive surgeries, while navigating a sense of being different and facing bullying, Lethu remained strong and unbroken, growing into a confident and mature young adult. During his formative teenage years, he fully embraced his uniqueness, teaching himself to cultivate self-confidence and a sense of inner beauty. Nowadays Lethu is determined to achieve success to be able to help and inspire others. He beautifully states, "Embrace your true self, love yourself as you are, because if you don't, no one else will."

He recently launched his fashion brand line - a collection of t-shirts inspired by his journey of overcoming limitations and embracing individuality. Lethu's fashion brand line is more than just clothing; it is a story of his transformation and a symbol of empowerment. With every t-shirt he creates, Lethu hopes to ignite a sense of courage and self-belief in individuals worldwide, reminding them that their unique journey is something to be celebrated.

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