These photos were originally published in 2000 in Vogue Italia, then under the helm of the legendary Franca Sozzani, whom Koto Bolofo (born 1959) first met in 1984 and worked with for more than 25 years. Bolofo fondly remembers the exceptional creative freedom she gave him and other photographers at the magazine—Sozzani provided the clothes, they did the rest.
And so it was with Say Cheese: Bolofo was given a wardrobe of female swimwear, and with the help of his regular stylist Nicoletta Santoro, he shunned professional models, instead enlisting a vibrant squad of real synchronized swimmers, California’s Riverside Aquettes. The resulting images show a variety of female bodies at ease and play—floating and twirling in sparkling, sun-filled water, clad in retro looks, from Great Gatsby flair to flowered 1950s bathing caps, and each wearing Bolofo’s favorite accessory: a genuine smile.
When Sophie Conran, interior designer and daughter of legendary designer and retailer Sir Terence Conran, approached Koto Bolofo (born 1959) in 2012 to document the renovation of the spectacular new premises of London’s Design Museum, he knew he couldn’t say no. Founded in 1989 by Terence Conran and Stephen Bayley, the museum has since become a leading institution devoted to all aspects of design—from architecture and fashion, to industrial, product and graphic design.
When Bolofo began photographing the location in 2012, it was a derelict shell, which over four years has now been transformed by John Pawson and his design team. Bolofo found his vision by conceiving of the building as a “feminine object” and focusing on its suggestive curves and forms.
As the processes of binding have shifted from man to machine, South African photographer Koto Bolofo’s (born 1959) Binding is a meticulous study of bookbinding today that embraces the new and laments the loss of the old.
Published by Steidl. Text by Koto Bolofo, Gerhard Steidl.
Hahnemühle is the oldest paper mill in Germany--and indeed the world--which has consistently produced fine art paper since its inception over 400 years ago. Using their own supply of spring water and imported pulps, Hahnemühle crafts luxury papers based on time-tested traditional methods. In Paper Making, Koto Bolofo graphically captures Hahnemühle's artisanal processes and antique machinery alongside today's most advanced technologies, uncovering the attention to detail, vision and pride that have sustained the company's unmatched reputation for centuries.
Koto Bolofo: Printing is a whimsical but in-depth, behind-the-scenes study that guides the reader through a magical journey into the world of Gerhard Steidl, the renowned German photobook publisher. Innovative fashion photographer Koto Bolofo (born 1959) is well known for his portraits and fashion shoots, and published in such prestigious periodicals as Vogue, Esquire and i-D. In this volume, his images lead readers through the corridors and stairways of the Steidl printing center, documenting the magical formation of some of the most beautiful visual books ever made. Showing the collaboration between publisher and artist, Bolofo examines the processes involved in photobook production. This beautiful hardcover is the result of the very processes it documents, a unique collectible object for all those interested in photography and photobooks.
Koto Bolofo (born 1959) journeys from Hahnemühle Paper Mill to Steidl’s world-class printing facility and headquarters at Göttingen and finally to their binder in Leipzig to show how Steidl stays true to its dedication to creating multiples: books as democratic art objects at a reasonable price.
In a similar fashion to his Hermès project, renowned fashion photographer Koto Bolofo (born 1959) moved in backstage at the Versailles Equestrian Academy where the legendary horse trainer, film producer and impresario Bartabas introduced him to the exceptional riders of the royal stables. This opportunity to witness at close quarters the teaching of unique riding techniques (as well as the teaching of other disciplines such as fencing, legends, dance and singing) allowed the photographer to capture some extraordinary images of the equestrian arts. His black-and-white prints, his focus on surface and texture (such as leather, wood and horsehair), on the architectural qualities of the majestic setting, on costumes and the special attention paid to portraiture, create timeless images of an abiding quest for perfection.
In Rolls-Royce, Koto Bolofo goes behind the scenes of a world-renowned iconic brand and symbol of all that is British, and examines in minute detail the making of the car that is the first choice of film stars and heads of state. Given carte blanche by Rolls-Royce, Koto documents the painstaking craftsmanship that goes into the creation of these superlative vehicles, beautifully portraying the use of technology in this state of the art manufacturing plant which still puts a heavy emphasis on artisan crafts. This visual diary pays tribute to Rolls-Royce and stays true to the words of Sir Henry Royce: "Strive for perfection in everything you do." Bolofo's keen eye for detail and ability to see beyond the obvious captures the construction of these magnificent cars.
Published by Steidl. Contributions by Claudia van Ryssen-Bolofo.
Having left South Africa at the age of four as a political refugee with his parents, photographer Koto Bolofo returned to his home country with his wife in 1992, two years after Nelson Mandela had been released from prison. Bolofo got free access to the notorious and by now deserted prison of Robben Island, where Mandela had been held for the majority of the 27 years of his confinement in a cell of barely 20 square feet in Section B. The photographer and his wife eagerly began documenting the site's abandoned interiors and surroundings, dreading the prison's potential closure. Meanwhile, it was converted into a well-frequented museum in 1997 and included on the World Heritage List by UNESCO in 1999. The black-and-white photographs of this volume conspicuously favor close-up depictions of details as opposed to general views: leftover items, barbed wire fences, spacious dormitories viewed through a spyhole, the key in the lock to Mandela's cell (which is so tiny it cannot be taken as a whole)--all this is conveying the gloomy sense of claustrophobia and suppression that characterize the place. The camera is constantly searching for the few rays of light that penetrate the ubiquitous grimness and silence of cruelty.
Lord Snowdon is Koto Bolofo's photographic portrait of legendary British photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones, known to the world as Lord Snowdon. The infamous Snowdon has photographed many icons of the twentieth century including David Bowie, Miuccia Prada and Gilbert and George, and through his 1960 marriage to Princess Margaret, he has become a privileged photographer to the British royal family. This book is Bolofo's tribute to Snowdon's life and work, and a document of the man behind the public persona. Snowdon and Bolofo hit it off from their first meeting ("Would you like a drink?" asked Snowdon, at 11 am in the morning), and their rapport is evident in Bolofo's portraits of Snowdon in his London home and studio. Lord Snowdon includes images of old newspaper clippings, as well as Snowdon's archives and notebooks, making the book the most tender and comprehensive study of Snowdon to date.
The horse has a long and rich history as a subject in the visual arts. In sculpture and painting, in the decorative arts and most recently in photography, the horse has been celebrated for its cultural and social importance. Horse Power is a compelling photographic portrait of the horse today. During one week in September 2009, Bolofo documented life on the grounds of esteemed racehorse trainer Christiane Head-Maarek at Chantilly, France's famous racehorse town. Rising early each morning to make the most of the rare access he had gained, Bolofo photographed charming everyday occurrences--a blacksmith forging a horse shoe; filing a horse's hoof; grooming, walking and riding the animals--as well as making candid portraits of ambitious teenage jockeys-to-be. Bolofo explores every aspect of horse power--the physical strength of these million-dollar animals, their cultural and sporting status and their noble beauty.
Published by Steidl Photography International. Text by Ménéhould du Chatelle.
For the past four years, innovative fashion photographer Koto Bolofo has had behind-the-scenes access to the Hermès fashion empire. Bolofo, well known for his portraits and fashion shoots, and published in such prestigious periodicals as Vogue, Esquire and i-D, came to Monde d'Hermès in 2004, when he met Hermès head, Jean-Louis Dumas, one of 17 cousins who constitute the fifth generation heading the company. Bolofo recalls that "Mr. Dumas asked where I came from. I said South Africa. He asked what part. I said Lesotho. He was shocked and very excited. He explained that his great, great, great grandfather was a missionary in Lesotho and that the Zulus used to attack his mission, but the Sothos--my tribe--protected him... He called me his cousin and said that his cousin was welcome any time and I had carte blanche to photograph what I liked in Hermès." La Maison contains exclusive images made as Bolofo worked his way through Hermès' workshops, discovering how their wares are made, from handbags, perfumes, scarves, prêt-à-porter and shoes to the first accessory ever produced by the house: saddles. Nothing escaped his lens, not even the museum, a treasure trove of Hermès history, tucked away on Rue du Faubourg St. Honoré.
Three generations, one vision: with this slogan, the English auto restoration firm of Dutton Ltd. aligns itself to the classic Bugatti racing car. From 1909 to 1963, Bugatti—founded by Ettore Bugatti and based in Molsheim, Alsace—produced the most powerful racing vehicles of that era. Today, Ivan Dutton pays tribute to this legendary reputation. His 12 skilled employees are able to reproduce every original piece of the original cars, and even to reassemble them in their entirety using the original construction methods. Photographer Koto Bolofo visited the Bugatti garage in Buckinghamshire and was moved to record his impressions of the work and its rare quality of industrial artisanship. The photographs reproduced in this gorgeous large-format volume tell the story of the mechanics responsible for restoring the vintage cars and reveal how Dutton Ltd. has helped to keep an era alive.
Koto Bolofo was commissioned to photograph the publishing house built by Gerhard Steidl, but found the entrepreneur himself to be a master of the belated entrance, appearing suddenly, “like a powerful 12-cylinder engine in top gear,” prompting Bolofo's response: “I spy with my little eye something beginning with S.”
Paper is a delicate material, and has much to endure when it enters a bookbindery and is cut, folded, sewn, glued, knocked into shape, piled and packed. Koto Bolofo records this process at three branches of the Offizin Andersen Nexö bindery, in Leipzig, Zwenkau and Tunisia-each of which has a different approach to binding. Bolofo's photographs reveal the fascinating and fraught journey from paper to book.
Published by Steidl. Edited by Patrick Remy. Text by Koto Bolofo.
With a power serve of 129 miles per hour and countless titles to her name (including number one in the world), Venus Williams is an amazing force in the world of tennis. She stands 6’1” and possesses great reach, or “wingspan,” and a rare mental tenacity that has put many, many trophies on her mantelpiece. It was thanks to Williams’ tireless campaigning that the bizarre sexist tradition of awarding a smaller prize money to female tennis players was corrected, at least at Wimbledon and the French Open. (Amusingly, Williams herself became the first beneficiary of this amendment when she won Wimbledon in June, 2007.) Williams’ ascent to fame has been meteoric from the first. At her Grand Slam debut at the 1997 French Open, she reached the final, and although she did not win that match, her world ranking shot up from 66 to 25 in one day. By 1999, she was number three, and by 2000 she had won a gold medal for the U.S. at the Olympics--the first of two, thus far. This sense of un-stoppability has always characterized Venus Williams, and makes her gripping to watch. Now the British fashion photographer Koto Bolofo has caught some of her magic on camera, in ways that have never been seen before. Granted unrivalled access to the athlete, during both her public tournaments and many private moments, Bolofo offers here a monumental portrait of one of today’s greatest athletes.