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Stefan Marcel Gerard is known for his penetrating and narrative portraits. The photographer shows a surreal dream world, as in the work of Salvador Dali. In his best-known series, Horsemen, the images are based on a diverse range of historical and fictional warrior archetypes: Genghis Khan, Macbeth, Shaka Zulu, and death itself. The series was shot in Kersenfontein, South Africa. At the official opening, Stefan donated a work of art from the series to the AmsterdamDiner Foundation.Online editor: Mical Joseph
Image: Stefan M. GerardWe all have our demons. They are guilt, secrets, regrets and failures that come to haunt us. We build a wall to keep them away, so we can stay safe. But walls don't work that way. They never work that way.

What if we would open the gates to our feared horsemen, the apocalyptic bringers of destruction? Imagine riding off into the sunset to meet these fierce creatures, to come close enough to see them for what they truly are: messengers. They have come to show us the warrior within. The conqueror of fear itself.

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the overcoming of it. The brave man is not he who is not afraid, but he who overcomes fear,” said Nelson Mandela. Horsemen concerns an apocalyptic plain, where there is nowhere to hide from your inner demons. You have no choice but to confront them.


Stefan started photography at the age of 15 using an analogue camera that he bought on Queen's Day. “I have always been inspired by world cities and the way people manifest themselves. I lived in Buenos Aires at a young age and this city left a deep impression on me: European chic, slightly withered, with a very sensual Latin soul.”

The photographer brings out the atmosphere of the environment by using the elements of air (blue or turbulent), earth (glass and reflections) and water (as far as the eye can see, as a metaphor for freedom). Fire is reflected in the posture and looks of the models. In Stefan's work the subjects are determined heroes. The photography is cinematic, making the captured moment part of a larger story.WARRIOR II | Rien Welsink (Models in Cape Town) as MacBeth in war paint (70×100)“I ​​love expression. That's why I love putting the human scale back in immense landscapes. It gives breathing space to your visual language. In addition, for me a photo is a snapshot. Not everything should be given away because I want to leave room for someone's interpretation, only in this way can you make an image part of someone's own life story. I want spectators to see something of themselves. That can sometimes be confrontational, like an aspiration.”

Stefan lives in Amsterdam and lives in Cape Town for approximately four months a year. “The most beautiful thing about Africa is that everyone is much closer to nature. This is a feeling of freedom, because society is not yet 'finished'. There is room to make mistakes, negotiate and pursue your own adventure. Hakuna Matata.”ENSEMBLE I | Masterpiece of the series: the four horsemen of the apocalypse. (100×70)


At the Amsterdam Dinner, Stefan Gerard donated one of his works to draw attention to a world without AIDS, which seems to be realistic in 2030. “Victims of HIV must confront the worst demons all alone: ​​the idea of ​​becoming an outcast from the people you love. I can only imagine the courage this takes. It is for this reason that I am donating my work for auction at the AmsterdamDiner: to support the real heroes who are committed to the treatment and prevention of HIV, so that others do not have to confront this fear alone.”FAMINE III | Gabu Fords from Kenya as legendary Shaka Zulu (100×70) When asked when his next series will appear, he answers: 'Next March. The working title is FABULA OBSCURA, an exploration of sexual shame in a critical retelling of Adam and Eve, in an African setting.'

STEFAN M. GERARD | | @stefanmgerard