Koto Bolofo is the first photographer to have been granted unlimited access to the secret workshops of Hermès, the house famous for its leather goods, scarves and other beautiful objects. La Maison, published by Steidl, is comprised of 11 clothbound hardcover volumes, the result of seven years of documentation. Each volume explores a different part of the history of Hermès, offering a rare insight. Hermès has been snapped simply going about its everyday business, giving itself up candidly to Koto’s camera, without any posing.
In 2002 Koto Bolofo met the Chairman of Hermès, Jean-Louis Dumas. Says Bolofo, “Mr Dumas asked me where I came from. I said South Africa. He asked what part. I said Lesotho. He was shocked and very excited. He explained that his great great great grandfather was a missionary in Lesotho and that the Zulus used to attack his mission, but the Sothos – my tribe – protected him. I was very happy to be a Lesothan in Mr. Dumas office that day. He called me his cousin and that his cousin was welcome anytime and I had carte blanche to photograph what I liked in Hermès.”
33 images from the book will be on display at the Gallery at Hermès, September 14th – 30th, 2011. 691 Madison Ave., 4th fl., New York, NY 10065