Come a bit closer, Skattie, I got a little Cape Town tea to spill. Everybody knows that ours’ is a small town, charming, but a klein dorpie nonetheless. Everybody knows everybody, even more so when it comes to the fashion and art community. So when an interesting new face pops up, ons is almal baie curious. A couple of months ago, at one of the Zeitz Mocaa Pavilion’s martini soirées I met Juan, a young photographer from Colombia who goes by the moniker IL Retallack, with a hot portfolio and a Masters in Fashion Photography from a place called Istituto Marangoni in Milan. He’d literally just moved to Cape Town, like a week or two prior. I thought to myself, “gots to intro this treat to the skatties real quick before my dear friend and perennial muse Mavuso spots him.”
Now those of you who live and love in Cape Town might know Mavuso, even those of you who don’t go here might have seen him in the latest GQ Style, on their ‘Faces of Fashion – Seven of South Africa’s leading voices in men’s style’ feature. Anyway, Sandiso and I love to goss about how Mavuso always finds the freshest cutest talented faces first, like as soon as they hit town. I swear it’s like the bitch waits for them at arrivals. And sooner or later there they are on his instagram.
Anyway, not even a couple of weeks after I met Juan, while I was still thinking I must send him those questions so I can show off his awesome fashion photography and intro him to the massive, I walk into the One League agency party and lo and behold, Mavuso and Juan are already hanging out, like full on chomma status. Peep the evidence in the picture below:
A quick look see at Mavuso’s instagram and there he was as well. Damn you Mav, why are you so on top of things? Also, for your own amusement, peep Mavuso’s instagram here, and hope you find yourself in it. No? Soz liefling, do better. Anyway, this is not about Mav, it’s about Juan a.k.a Il Retallack. He and I had a chat, I fell in love with his work, and he told me he’d just styled and shot a little editorial in Cape Town, I said “skattie you must let me publish it at once, and while we’re at it, let’s do a quickie interview with your talented self, and tell our skatties a bit about you.”
But first, to give you a rounded view, here is some of my favourite work from his porti which I grabbed off his website, www.ilretallack.com.
Why do you go by Il Retallack, what does it mean?
To cut a long story short. There is a famous singer in Latin America that has the same name as me, and I really didn’t want to be related to him at all. So when I went to study in Milan I started using my grandfather’s last name. Being in Italy, Il Retallack also translated to The Retallack.
What kind of fashion photography are you into? Like, how would you describe it?
I really like strong images. For me it’s about something that catches the eye, high contrast and empowered women.
A special career moments so far that you’d like to share with us?
I think it was seeing my first cover in print.
Besides your studies, you’ve travelled quite a bit, any cities that you really feel?
I have been lucky to travel with my studies and my work. Some of the most remarkable cities I have visited are Milan, Barcelona, Mexico City, Prague and Cape Town.
Did you find fashion photography different in different cities?
Definitely. This was more palpable for me as a photographer when I moved back from Europe to Colombia. The industry is really young there and they don’t want anything risky or conceptual. I had to tone it down and shape my style to be more commercial.
Why did you choose to come to Cape Town?
Haha, lets just say… a love story.
Lastly, how did this new shoot come up?
I wanted to do this night, black and white shoot. Caitlin was available, so my team and I contacted some designers, got some items, and voilà.
Check the Cape Town shoot below skattie:
Text by Malibongwe Tyilo