The inspiration for this exhibition is found in the core symbolic meaning of the number “2”. In principle it signifies the inherent dualism which lies at the very core of man’s existence.

This dualism extends far beyond the realm of mere morality, which is principally dominated by the constant battle between good and evil, co existing within man. As an animal, man is able to intellectually and spiritually contemplate his universe far beyond the boundaries of his physical existence. Notwithstanding, he remains subjectively aware of a life emulsified to an earthbound body, born to inevitable decay and destined to die.

In this series of monochromatic images, I explore and aim to amplify, albeit purely subjectively, my cognitive awareness of my own dualistic nature. This awareness is amplified (and in part explained) by my perception (or misapprehension) that I fall within the definition of “romantic artist’’ as described by Rank; thus, essentially a creative torn between his inner opposing factions.

This acute awareness, which has been amplified by my initial career as defence attorney, isolated me from those with whom I shared my physical world. As photographer and artist, I have, through the act of seeing and capturing daily life in its tedious and mostly predictable routine, become what I have always been destined to be; an emphatic observer.  

We are, at times, so blinded by our own reality, or perception of it, that we fail to notice the beauty of life… it exists mostly in fleeting, unassuming moments that go unnoticed if not immediately recognised and appreciated for what it is.

Photographing people in the process of creating these moments, has shown me that, despite man’s physical journey, which will inevitably result in death, we go on living in the spaces granted to us. The mundane then becomes brave and poetic. Through my interaction with space and the people with whom I share it, my own existence becomes more bearable, because I am not alone.


Renier Spies, born on the 2nd of May 1970, studied law at the University of the Orange Free State.

After completion of his articles at the firm Mc Intyre and Van der Post, Bloemfontein, he relocated toJohannesburg and joined the largest and most accomplished criminal law firm in South Africa, where hespecialised in trial law for the next 15 years.

He left the practice of law and joined the National School of Photography, Pretoria, where he completed hisdiploma in photography during 2007. As a form of creative expression, photography became the pathway to hisartistic side, which he has since developed parallel to his career as one of South Africa ’s top defence attorneys.

“Photography opened my eyes, not only to myself, but also to a world filled with dynamic elements of constantopposites. It taught me that I do not need to be only ‘one thing’. I believe it was the exposure to the humandrama of a criminal court and the intimate interaction with people during cross-examination that ignited myinterest and love of people-photography.”