Defiant images: Photography and Apartheid South Africa
“This book is much more than just a discourse on photography in the land of apartheid. And it goes well beyond sophisticated debate on the artistic merits of images. While keeping the lens trained on the evolution of photography it plunges the reader into a sharp and evocative socio-cultural history of a country in deep conflict.” – Albie Sachs
Photography is often believed to 'witness' history or 'reflect' society, but such perspectives fail to account for the complex ways in which photographs get made and seen, and the variety of motivations and social and political factors that shape the vision of the world that photographs provide. Defiant Images develops a critical historical method for engaging with photographs of South Africa during the apartheid period. The author looks closely at the photographs in their original contexts and their relationship to the politics of the time, listens to the voices of the photographers to try and understand how they viewed the work they were doing, and examines the place of photography in a post-apartheid era.
Based on interviews with photographers, editors and curators, and through the analysis of photographs held in collections and displayed in museums, Defiant Images addresses the significance of photography in South Africa during the second half of the twentieth century