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Mikhailia Petersen

South African 1992- 

Mikhalia Petersen is an independent, multi-faceted creative who lives and works in Cape Town, South Africa. Working through the medium of photography, Petersen is skilled in the fields of styling, creative direction, and, as a stills producer, cultivating a layered means of engaging with projects and work.

Often working in portraiture, Mikhalia aims to capture her subjects in a truthful and celebratory manner, portraying those individuals she shoots through narrative-based storytelling, as opposed to isolated and essentializing single images. Her practice lends itself towards the emotive; harnessing elements of history, culture, and the lived archive of those who surround her and the individuals she works with. Deeply interested in the post-colonial landscape of Cape Town, her work seeks to re-address the way POC and LGBTQIA+ people are framed within this context through hardship and oppression. Instead, her photographs highlight the beauty and strength of people. The work she has produced has been described as theatrical and heavily inspired by a documentary-themed approach. Working with a community of creatives, also based in Cape Town, her practice is multi-disciplinary as she incorporates local crafts, fashion, and various skills within shoot production to create her photographic stories.

Petersen’s work has been published in various reputable South African and international publications, including The Face, Nataal, NiCotiNe, and Doek!Lit. Her work has been exhibited locally at the AVA Gallery, The Gallery of the University of Stellenbosch (GUS), and Eclectica Contemporary and internationally at the Chanel Hyeres Festival in Paris. Notable campaigns she has worked for include Puma.

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