Brett Rubin and Cameron Foden confront the spectre of empire in their evolving visual project shot against South Africa’s epic landscapes


The Bier Series has been an on-going collaboration between photographer Brett Rubin and fashion designer / illustrator Cameron Foden since 2009. Taking its name from the burial stand on which a body or coffin is placed before the grave, and informed by the costumes and locations of the Boer War, the disquieting images of vistas and bodies examine how the ghosts of South Africa’s colonial past continue to influence contemporary culture. “While complex and ingrained across the sands of time, the process of properly contextualising and understanding this dark chapter in our history is a significant challenge that continues to haunt the progress of our post-democratic society,” says Rubin.

Foden studied fashion at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp and has since worked at Raf Simons and G-Star Raw. Rubin is co-founder of production house Vatic, has shot with Hugh Masekela and exhibited at the Nirox Sculpture Park. Their evolving personal project comprises three chapters so far - The Footpad and the Baldachin, The Inversion Layer, The Farm Hand - incorporating photography, illustration, clothing, text and film. The results are “as much about South Africa’s expansive landscapes as they are about the people inhabiting them and in particular the haunting resonance of those who once did.”