Photographer Brett Rubin’s body of photographic work is extensive, with a long relationship with portrait photography and commercial work, his fine art practice is remarkably different to his other bodies of work, yet exhibits his keen eye for detail, colour and vivid expression he captures in his sitters and commercial endeavours. One can perceive his worldview through the images he produces, his love of Modernism and its aesthetic tropes evident in his visual language and production of the image. There’s a consistent exploration of liminal spaces in landscape, capturing moments that reflect the passing of time, and our presence as spectators to events that are marked on the historical landscape. Rubin’s work was exhibited during the Autumn 2022 exhibition at DAOR Contemporary.
Working and assisting as a photographer in various industries, he opened a photographic studio in Cape town in 2007 until 2010. He recolated to Johannesburg in the same year and continued to work as an independant photographer mainly in the fashion and design industry.
In 2012 Rubin was appointed the official photographer for jazz icon Hugh Masekela until Masekela’s passing in 2018. Highlights of this period include photographing the final two Hugh Masekela album covers, directing two music videos (one a tribute to photographer Alf Kumalo); and having a portrait of Masekela included in the Carnegie Hall collection. He continues to consult and work closely with the Hugh Masekela Heritage Foundation.
Rubin specialises in portraiture, utilising various art historical methods and references while refining contemporary perceptions of the medium. His practice is concerned with challenging the conventions of the medium of photography through his use of substrate, form and content. He is interested in the deconstruction of Landscape, the histories that have shaped it and the way the figure traverses it in a post-colonial context.
Over the course of his career as a professional photographer Rubin’s work has been exhibited and featured in various capacities, namely, the Design Indaba (2009), Edinburgh International Art and Fashion Festival (2012), Nirox Winter Sculpture Exhibition (2014), NATAAL Africa Utopia Exhibition (Southbank Centre, London (2016), The Villa Show, Johannesburg curated by Jonathan Freemantle (2018).
In 2019 Rubin organised an exhibition of portraits of Hugh Masekela in association with Art Joburg art fair and the Hugh Masekela Heritage Foundation, which was held at Circa Gallery in Johannesburg.