Nontsikelelo ‘Lolo’ Veleko is a South African photographer most notably recognised for her depictions of black identity, urbanisation, and fashion in post-apartheid South Africa. In Johannesburg, Veleko studied photography at the Market Theatre Photo Workshop (1999–2004), an organisation co-founded by David Goldblatt in order to provide accessible training to young photographers. In 2006, Veleko’s portrait series, Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder (2003–2006), was included in Snap Judgments: New Positions in Contemporary African Photography, held at the International Center of Photography (ICP) in New York, USA, which brought her much acclaim.
Veleko’s works register a key moment in contemporary life, reflecting a plucky generation open to making sartorial statements that express their identities. Veleko is also compelled to document the subjects that for her challenge assumptions of identity based on appearances and historical background. Such sentiments are evident in her photographs, which emerge from what she considers a collaborative process.