I am not afraid

Dec. 1, 2007 — Mar. 2, 2008
Camera Austria No. 100 & exhibition
@ Camera Austria, Graz
Co-curator: Christine Frisinghelli

Bonile Bam, Jodi Bieber, Lerato Maduna,
Sabelo Mlangeni, Zanele Muholi, Nontsikelelo Veleko

The anniversary issue of Camera Austria No. 100, wanted to refrain from looking back on past decades, i.e. the magazine’s own history, and decided to look to the future instead. This issue – that accompanied the exhibition of the same name – was dedicated to the Market Photo Workshop founded by David Goldblatt in Johannesburg at the end of the 1980s. This exhibition presented works of graduates of this school of photography located in Johannesburg, that was already run independently of race during the Apartheid era. As an institution, the Market Photo Workshop has not only brought forth outstanding artistic projects but also offered and offers young people their first real opportunity of training.

The exhibition and publication focus on situations of life in South Africa after the end of Apartheid, asking questions about the profound social transformations that have taken place in this country. The aim was to collect positions from the different generations of graduates from this school, that have emerged from the tradition of committed  

documentary photography and that tackle such issues as violence, different sexual politics, and economic niche work head-on. The individual presentations of documentary photographers – Jodi Bieber, Bonile Bam, Zanele Muholi, Nontsikelelo Veleko, and others – are supplemented by themed projects that – often over an extended period of time and in collaboration with people actually affected – explore such topics as migration, homelessness or health policy, but also questions of representation, memory and identity in a complex multi-ethnic society. The commitment of the Market Photo Workshop in the sense of political education aimed generally to combat visual illiteracy is of particularly interest: In “outreach projects” students and graduates of the Workshop are employed as tutors for temporary workshops in order to make work with photography as a way of describing one’s own environment accessible to different sections of the population, and thus to increase awareness of the way in which media images work.

© Christian Wachter

1 Back and Forth (outreach project)
2 Nontsikelelo Veleko
3 Zanele Muholi, Nontsikelelo Veleko
4 Good Life, Long Life (outreach project)
5 Jodi Bieber
6 Bonile Bam, Jodi Bieber