Skip to content
feedbackdystopiapretoria new article
last modified: 2013/06/12

then & now photography exhibition

THEN & NOW

Front of invite

Back of invite


A highly acclaimed photographic exhibition featuring the work of eight South Afrcan documentary photographers is shown at Unisa  Art Gallery from 31 March until 8 May 2009.

Entitled 'Then and Now' the collection comprises photographs taken both before and after South Africa's transition to democracy.
The project has been initiated and curated by the photographer Paul Weinberg. The other contributors are David Goldblatt, George Hallett, Eric Miller, Cedric Nunn, Guy Tillim, Graeme Williams, and Gisele Wulfsohn.

Almost all of them were members of Afrapix, the collective photo agency that played a central role in documenting political conflict in South Africa in the 1980s and early 1990s.
Weinberg explains the project as follows: 'During the 1980s, the overriding priority of South African documentary photographers was to record political conflict, and more personal forms of photographic expression were kept in the backgroound.

'The transition to democracy freed them to explore other, less political subjects, broaden their scope of their work beyond South Africa's borders, and re-examine their approach to photography.

'The purpose of this project is to record the contrast and the continuities between their earlier and later work. the result is a fascinating record of a country in conflict, and then in a state of reconstruction and rediscovery.'

A video documentary featuring interviews with the contributing photographers will be shown at the exhibition. A book featuring the entire collection of photographs, a critical essay, and extracts from the interviews will be on sale.

Riaan de Villiers of The Highveld Press, the book's publisher, believes the exhibition is one of the most significant photographic collections shown in South Africa in recent years. 'It celebrates the work of eight remarkable photographers who have made a massive contribution to South African documentary photography in our time.'

The Then & Now project is managed by the Centre for Curating the Archive in the Michaelis School of Fine Art of the University of Cape Town. It has been funded by the Conference, Workshop and Cultural Initiative (CWCI) Fund, a partnership programme between South Africa and the European Union; and the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library at Duke University in the United States.

The exhibition is travelling South Africa as well as the United States, Europe and Australia.
then & now photography exhibition default content text

 Prof. Andries Oliphant formally opening the exhibition.

Artworks that form part of the exhibition:

Paul Weinberg

Then:
Pietermaritzburg city centre, 1986.
'Freedom of the Ciy' march, Pietermaritzburg, 1987.

Now:
Family portrait, Underberg, KwaZulu-Natal, 2000.

Graeme Williams

Then:
The day of the Vow celebrations, Voortrekker Monument, Pretoria, 1993.

Now:
Moenaneng Township, Marquard, 2006.

David Goldblatt

 Then:
The commando of National Party supporters that escorted the late Dr Hendrik Verwoerd to the party's 50th anniversary celebrations. The middle horseman in the front rank is Leon Wessels, whol later became Deputy Minister of Law and Order in the National Party government. He was also the first senoir member of the party to apologise for apartheid.
De Wildt, Transvaal (North West Province), 31 October 1964.

Gisele Wulfsohn

Then:
Metal artist Titus Moteyane, Atteridgeville, Pretoria, 1984.

Now:
Little Angels Life Centre, Orange Farm, 2004.

The pictures below are photo documentation of the opening of this exhibition:

Left picture: DJ Kruger , Stan Lifschitz (lectures at Unisa, Psychology department with Graeme Williams (One of the participating artists).

Middle picture: Paul Weinberg, Senior Curator for the Archives at Michelis School of the Arts, also organiser of the exhibition and participating artist.

Far right picture: From the left to right we have Riaan de Villiers (Publisher of Then & Now Catalogue), Jacob Lebeko (acting Curator of UNISA Art Gallery) and Paul Weinberg.