Arnaud De Grave / Magnesium Capturing a Zulu ghost / © Arnaud De Grave, Magnesium

Zulu: Chasing Dancing Ghosts

IN 2009 Arnaud De Grave was commissioned to design a book cover for Labyrint, a Copenhagen-based publishing company translating French crime novels to Danish. Sent to Marseille to walk the path of the book’s protagonist, De Grave photographed the seamy underbelly of the dark city captured in Jean-Claude Izzo’s Total Kheops, a tale of “Lagavulin, jazz and beautiful girls”. Some of his results, which have hung in galleries across Denmark, are selected here.

For their next project, Caryl Férey’s Zulu, the action takes place in South Africa. A timely, but expensive location shoot for the up and coming publishing house was scrapped at De Grave’s insistence that he could recreate the macabre Johannesburg setting, where the value of human life is judged on a quid pro quo basis, simply by renting a studio and hiring a model. As one of the main characters of the novel, if not the heroine, De Grave captures the enigmatic soul of the dancer who performs her zulu war-influenced dances in smoky clubs shrouded in violence and mystery.

Zulu (Caryl Férey, 2008), Labyrint Publishing - © Arnaud De Grave / Magnesium

Zulu (Caryl Férey, 2008)

The cover shot is a close-up portrait of model Kristina Remne chosen for its austerity. Yet when the polished and reserved monochrome image on the finished cover is contrasted to the outtakes of Kristina dancing in the hellfire flash of the novel’s fiery climax, the viewer/reader begins – through De Grave’s work- to understand the clarity of the author’s vision.

Another selection of black and white imagery can be viewed at the BOP Association Gallery.

    Arnaud De Grave is a gonzo photographer / journalist currently living in Denmark. For information on licensing these and other images please contact Magnesium Photos
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  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by jon_ellis, Magnesium Agency. Magnesium Agency said: Danish Publisher Labrint publishes Caryl Férey’s "Zulu", layout/cover by Magnesium photographer Arnaud De Grave: [...]