Vian Roos was raised in the agricultural town of Bethlehem in the Free State. In 2011 he completed a BA in Graphic Design at The Design School and at the tender age of 24 he was appointed art director at Farmer’s Weekly, South Africa’s oldest magazine, two years after joining the organisation.
His job involves liaising with journalists on developing stories and then creating a framework around which the visuals can further strengthen the story. This is in a context where changes in magazine audience consumption patterns have meant that media workers need to be more deliberate in striking a solid balance between content and the visuals. The 105th-year issue of the publication saw Roos switch things up from a design perspective.
“It was time for us to innovate on our digital and print offerings and keep track of our competitors, while retaining readership in a situation where people do not easily adapt to change.”
His approach to photography places emphasis on being present — especially during the unnoticed moments — and that has allowed him to explore his deep fascination with clouds. “I like looking up into the sky and just snapping. A cloud is as it is in that moment; you see it, you snap it and you cannot recreate it.”
As a young person in South Africa, Roos is sometimes frustrated at the rigidity and ageism which young people’s ideas are often met with. Travel has transformed him and his outlook, but this country continues to warm his heart. “Every place has its problems, but there is something about this place; South Africa is definitely more fun than anywhere else.” — Nomonde Ndwalaza