Defiant images: photography and apartheid South Africa

Research output: Book/ReportBook - authored


This monograph is the first book-length historical study of photography in apartheid South Africa and a significant contribution to research on documentary photography in the twentieth century. The chapter on Ernest Cole is the first major account of the life and work of one of Africa’s most important photographers. Other chapters contribute to an understanding of the photographers Constance Stuart Larrabee and Leon Levson, the Drum magazine school of photography and the struggle photography of the 1980s. It is the outcome of substantial primary research, including interviews with photographers, editors and curators, and analysis of photographs held in collections and displayed in museums. A foreword to the book is provided by Albie Sachs, a lawyer and political activist during the apartheid period and a Judge in the Constitutional Court of South Africa (1994-2009). The research was supported by two grants from the Arts and Humanities Research Council (small grant 2003/4; research leave 2006/07). This research has led to invited presentations at a number of institutions and conferences, including: Jacobs University, Bremen, April 2009; Interpretations of African Images and Beauty, Museum of London Docklands, April 2009; Durham Centre for Advanced Photography Studies, Durham University, September 2009; Centre for the Study of Post-Conflict Cultures, University of Nottingham, March 2010; Photography: Medium and Method, Lancaster University, June 2010; Bonani Africa Festival and Conference, Cape Town, August 2010; Pitt-Rivers Museum University of Oxford, October 2010. The book has been reviewed in Aperture, De Arte, H-Afrarts, History of Photography, International Journal of Communication, Journal of African Media Studies, Journalism Practice, South African Historical Journal, Times Higher Education, Visual Anthropology, Visual Studies.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationPretoria
PublisherUNISA Press
Number of pages356
ISBN (Print)9781868885237
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2009


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