Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Photographic traditions in black popular modernities: towards a socio-historical analysis of the visual economy in and beyond South Africa

The aim of the project is to contribute to the process of archive formation ongoing in Post-Apartheid South Africa through the inclusion of photographs that have been either unacknowledged or excised from the national canon.

Duration
2010  -   2015
Contact
Robert Ross
Partners

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology

An important aim of the project is to contribute to the process of archive formation ongoing in Post-Apartheid South Africa through the inclusion of photographs that have been either unacknowledged or excised from the national canon. This will be achieved through the organization of historical workshops and traveling exhibitions centered upon vernacular photographic material.

Since the middle of the twentieth century, photographs have become an integral part of the material culture and visual economy of black South Africa. In this project we will be investigating how black South Africans have appropriated the technology of photography, and made decisions as to the images they wished to create and to preserve. As a result we are arguing against a view which sees photography as merely a tool of oppression; rather, in this project, the emphasis is on the way in which photography has become part of, and evidence for, the developing popular culture of apartheid and post-apartheid South Africa, in which both the specific modernities and the "traditions", including the ethnicities of the country are expressed. Simultaneously we will investigate how vernacular photography is moving from being purely private possessions to becoming part of the common heritage and the 'Archive' of post-apartheid South Africa.

Connection with other research

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