Zulu: chasing dancing ghost …


In 2009 Yours Truly was asked to craft a book cover for Labyrint, a new Copenhagen-based publishing company translating French crime novels into Danish. I was sent to Marseille to walk the path of Fabio Montale and photograph the guts of Marseille’s side in Jean-Claude Izzo’s Total Kheops. Some of the results, which have hung in galleries across Denmark, can still be seen on Arnaud’s own website Azimut Brutal here.

For their second book they chose Caryl Ferey’s Zulu which action takes place in South Africa, a very timely location what with the world cup happening there and all. So a local shoot could not be held for obvious budget reasons. I though thought that I could maybe do something different to coin the macabre Johannesburg atmosphere. I therefore decided to focus on one of the main characters of the novel, if not the heroine, and try to work on the character of the fierce lady who performs Zulu war-dances in smoky bars.

I had several ideas at work inside my brain and at the end, the shot chosen for the cover is a close-up portrait of the top-model Kristina Remne … But some of the out-takes of Kristina dancing in the hellfire of my flash heads installation were calling to me to get some exposure.

For technical detail freaks the cameras I used this day ranged from Hasselblad with Polaroid back (for test shots), Mamiya RB67 to Voigtlander Bessa r4a. I only shot black and white film pushed in order to get grainy and dreamy pictures … A Canon 20D was also used as a back-up plan and a help to construct my four master-slaves bouncing light flashes device, supposedly recreating the lack of focusing that one might have when under the influence of whatever one drinks in one of these bars in the underbelly of scary cities in South Africa.