Photography: Thandiwe Gula-Ndebele

Model/Muse: Tylor Spelman

Creative Direction: Thandiwe Gula-Ndebele and Tylor Spelman 

This work is a celebration and honoring of expansive queer joy through the willingness to live and embody one’s truth in all the ways that it shows up. Tylor is a shapeshifter giving form to freedom through the way he affirms his sense of belonging in the world. A self-declared non-conformist whose body is a canvas of self-expression through movement, dance, and fashion, Tylor embraces the intersections of his Xhosa culture and his queerness. He anchors a contagious joy, magnetism, vibrance, and free-spirited nature in every room that he walks into. He embodies freedom in ways that ground him, regardless of people’s expectations or projections of him.

About the photographer:

Thandiwe Gula-Ndebele is a multidisciplinary storyteller currently using photography and film-making to document the narratives and ongoing history of their community. Thandiwe’s work inquires into the concepts of freedom within the African diaspora, focusing on remembrance and empowerment. They draw on self-representation and re-imagination of the self while prioritizing the experiences and narratives of Black women, and Black queer and gender-expansive people. Thandiwe uses visual language to interrogate and understand memory, identity, and freedom. Working towards compassionate and intimate ways of creating, their work is rooted in embodiment, reflection, and ritual, which they believe are “expressions and rites of passage of indigenous knowledge”.