“In the Ring” by Steve de Villiers

I am always looking to capture interesting subject matter, and when I came across the
Story of George Khosi and the Hillbrow Boxing Club, I knew it was something I wanted to document.  The suburb of Hillbrow in Johannesburg has become known as a poverty stricken and crime ridden area.

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I came across the story of George Khosi and the Hillbrow Boxing Club… George gives the children of Hillbrow new hope….

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George introduced me to Xolani Moyo (right)

George Khosi gives the children of Hillbrow new hope.  George was an up and coming amateur boxer, but unfortunately a shooting incident left him blind in
one eye and cut short his aspirations. This event motivated him to channel his energy and focus into the training of young people and women in the skill of boxing. Khosi started operating with used equipment and a makeshift boxing ring in a space that used to be a petrol station.

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Xolani (left), Ludwe (middle) & Bongile (right)

Being new to film, a lot of people are so focused on instant gratification in most areas of their lives. I felt it was the same with digital photography. Biggest and best cameras, most megapixels & it becomes an impossible task to keep up.

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It was time to simplify things. I have always been captivated with the timeless images that my grandfather captured with his Hasselblad 500c 25 years and more back.  It has been a longstanding dream to own a Hasselblad of my own.  In June of this year I decided to test the waters of medium format with a Yashica Mat 124G.  After the first roll of Kodak Portra 400 came back from the lab, I was pleasantly surprised with the results. Broken light meter and all (had to use the light meter app on my iPhone). In a strange sense this first experience cured my Hasselblad fixation. I started doing more research on film (medium format especially) and stumbled upon images taken with the Pentax 67 (6×7 format).

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Xolani suited & ready

This positive environment with George’s mentorship helped to keep kids off the street and cultivated discipline, even producing national champions.

That was when I realised that the 6×6 format was not for me. I immediately sold the Yashica and ordered a Pentax 67 from Japan. Two film rolls in, and here we are.
Shooting with film humbles you, forcing you to slow down and take in your surroundings.

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The film community is also so accepting and eager to share ideas and knowledge, which in turn pushes your own creativity and boundaries.

About Steve de Villiers

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I developed an interest in photography when I bought my first camera almost 11 years ago for a college project. Ever since I have been involved in photography in one form or another.  I studied Multimedia Design and Creative Brand Communications and pursued a career in the advertising industry for a short while, after which I got involved in a family business.

After a few years the lack of creative stimulation pushed me into a career as a full time photographer and I’ve never looked back.  I have a love affair with portraits, landscape and travel photography.  I am also a qualified RPAS or drone pilot with my own Aerial Video Production company.

My weapon of choice is a Pentax 67 medium format camera and Kodak Tri-X 400 black and white film for this series.

Social Media Links
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/stevedv/
Website: http://stevedevilliers.com/

Contributor: All images used with permission for AFPS.blog by Steve de Villiers