Neo Ntsoma was born in Mmabatho in the North West. She currently runs her own company called Neo Ntsoma Productions and she shoots across various genres: celebrity, fashion, runway, music, dance, fine art, editorial and film & TV projects, her favourites are documentary and portraiture. Neo is inspired by life and people and sees herself as a visual activist and story teller. She sees photography as a way to broaden peoples perspectives. Neo documents stories about women and identity, women in the work place, religion, the role of women in society, as well as celebrating women. She sees herself as offering a voice to those women who have been deprived of one.
Published in: Time Magazine; The Washington Post; and The London Telegraph; among others. Awards: The 2005 Premier Award in the Mondi Shanduka Newspaper competition. National Geographic All Roads Film and Photography award recipient. The first female recipient of the CNN African Journalist Award for Photography. She won a number of honours in the Fuji Professional Photo Awards for five consecutive years. Guest lecturer at: the New York International Centre for Photography (ICP); Stanford University and Pathshala, the South Asian Institute of Photography in Bangladesh where she taught for a year. Exhibitions: the All Roads Film Festival, Los Angeles; the Santa Fe Film Festival, New Mexico; the International Women's Day in Toronto; Chobi Mela - the South Asia Festival of Photography; Rome Festival of Photography.
“ I like to try new things, to deepen the way I see. But I don't believe in having only one style. I believe in having a vision, and that vision can manifest itself in many different ways.” “My view is that a picture should carry a wide depth of visual information. Photography, for me, is about bringing an image to life. This definitely is always a challenge - but challenge is what gets the best out of me. Yet what's important to me is to capture the spirit and soul of the subject I am photographing.” - Neo Ntsoma
Their world in flames “ Residents of the Slovo Park settlement that is located outside Crosby-western Johannesburg, carry all they could as they flee the raging inferno, which destroyed hundreds of shacks and left thousands homeless. Fire fighters battled to contain the blaze in heavy winds, but it proved too much for them.”
In the shadow of death … (who’s going to be left at the end) “ In villages of three to five thousand people, about 60 young adults are dying of Aids-related illnesses every month. The epidemic, villagers say at funerals, "is wiping us out". Most people in the region are unemployed and many close to starving. There are 200 orphan-headed households in the Aids-stricken region, and the number is growing fast.”
“ Nellie Mahlalela had been selling her body since she was twelve and contracted HIV in the process. "You'll never have to touch my body again" she said to a home-based caregiver the day before she died. Once a hefty woman, Nellie now looks like a skeleton draped with skin.”
"Who is going to be left her for me in the end?" wailed Grace Mahlalela, an 82 years old woman who had to bury three of her daughters including her grand daughter in a period of three months.”
“ Close to 60 people in the Inkomazi region in Mpumalanga are dying from Aids-related illnesses, hence the community say they call each other to the graves. For too long we have closed our eyes as a nation, hoping the truth was not so real...”
Mother Teresa spirit lives on: ordinary woman - extraordinary life “ The legacy of Mother Teresa lives on in the nuns of Calcutta. Her steadfast faith and her love for downtrodden has inspired a generation of Good Samaritans who bring hope and relief to the poor and the sick. This is a tribute to the Dear Mother to celebrate her life.”
Stone yards - saris in the sand “ Women have always - and continue to - transcend the man-made barriers that have blocked their progress over the years. But what about these poor Bangladeshi women, for whom the experience involves pain and blood? This is the question that kept bouncing in my head as I was standing watching the suffering of the women in the slums of Dhaka in Bangladesh, as they work alongside men for bone-aching twelve hour shifts, crushing rocks into sand and all the while having to keep an eye on their children who have to hang around nearby.”
“ I have always been inspired to change the gender imbalance in my country and parts of Africa, and have participated in workshops on gender and other related subjects. I have tried to devote my time and energy to popularise photography as a profession - particularly among black females especially that lack self-esteem. It was one of the reasons that encouraged me to accept the invitation to go teach and motivate the young women of Bangladesh. Sacrificing everything and everyone that is dear to me, including my son who was seven years at the time, just to go preach the gospel of gender equality in photography and also to encourage them to have their say.” – Neo Ntsoma