IN TOUCH Photographic Series: Mahlatse James & Tumelo

‘IN TOUCH’ is an intimate photographic essay around our growing need for human affection & connection. For being in touch with our people, including ourselves. It portrays human contact as the new luxury good of the era. South Africans with different backgrounds and relationships were invited to the studio and expressed the essence of the connection with their dearest and nearest. 

Marvin: Who is Mahlatse James & Tumelo? How long have you been together and why do you think it has lasted this long?
MJ & Tumelo: We’d like to think of ourselves as a ‘regular’ couple that thoroughly enjoys each other at all times. We have been together for nearly 15 years and really can’t say there is a secret to how we love one another. We truly are best friends and even though we exist in the world respectively, we have put in work to celebrate what we have built over the years.

Marvin: What’s hard or easy about loving someone and being with someone? What does ‘love’ mean to you?
MJ & Tumelo: This might come across as overly romanticized but we get to choose one another every day. Love to us means attention, coupled with patience and absolute adoration.

Marvin: Have 2020 events influenced your relationship/ the way you see each other?
MJ & Tumelo: We spend so much together and the events of 2020 might have contributed to us strengthening our union in that regard. Nothing ceremonious, we value each minute we spend together and chose to approach the ‘Time-out’ as more ‘Time-in’. 

Marvin: Are you an affectionate person? How important is affection and physical touch for you?
MJ & Tumelo: We are both very affectionate. You know the belief that when people spend a great amount of time together they tend to morph into one? That’s us, we share expression as a love language and touch has always been important to either of us. We have witnessed each of our bodies growing beautifully and are fortunate that over the last 14 years and some months we get to touch and feel these incredible changes.

Team credits

Concept, Photography & Retouching: Mariska van den Brink (MRSK Visuals/ @mrskvisuals)

Art Direction & Styling: Vallery Groenewald (Savage Design)

MUA, Hair & SFX: Lyn Kennedy 

Fashion: ASOS

Story: Mahlatse James & Tumelo