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Identity in Protest: The Market Photo Workshop and the New Generation of South African Photographers

Bonzon, Julie; (2020) Identity in Protest: The Market Photo Workshop and the New Generation of South African Photographers. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

My research analyses the ways in which notions of ‘identity’, ‘memory’ and ‘freedom’ are addressed by a generation of photographers from the Market Photo Workshop in Johannesburg, who grew up just before or after the end of apartheid. The Market Photo Workshop was founded in 1989 by David Goldblatt and has photographically reflected upon South African political struggles and socio-cultural changes since the date of its creation. I consider Lebohang Kganye’s series Her-story/Heir-story (2012-2013), Sipho Gongxeka’s Skeem’ Saka (2013-2014), Matt Kay’s The Front (2014-2015) and Phumzile Khanyile’s Plastic Crowns (2015-2016) as contemporary responses to the Market Photo Workshop’s legacy, particularly with its association to documentary. Each series is the result of a year-long mentorship between a MPW student and an established photographer, providing the opportunity to address how the aesthetic values advocated by an older generation are engaged and possibly transgressed by young students. In the work of Kganye, Gongxeka, Kay and Khanyile, I argue, a re-evaluation of documentary photography parallels a critical examination of the ways in which the history of apartheid has been photographed and remembered. I will demonstrate how, by jostling past models of resistance against conflicting realities in the present, these photographic series take part in the socalled ‘born free’ discussion, which questions the assumption that the post-1994 generation is ‘free’ of the legacy of apartheid.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Identity in Protest: The Market Photo Workshop and the New Generation of South African Photographers
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis is available on request. Please email openaccess@ucl.ac.uk.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of History of Art
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10097020
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