This is an essay I wrote for the Msunduzi Museum magazine ‘Ulwazi’, related to an exhibition of my photographs which they hosted and showed in their gallery space. The photographs were commissioned by the Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community and Social Action (PACSA), a rare commission in today’s South Africa;
In about May 2014 the Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community and Social Action (PACSA) approached me with a request to participate in their annual Film Festival and produce an exhibition of still photographs, which would frame the festival, based on their theme of ‘People Live Here’.
We discussed the broad streams or thematic aspects, such as income generation; services such as electricity, water and sanitation; gender, youth, food and health, and based on these considerations around which PACSA delivered its services, the focus of the project evolved. I had carte blanche in who and where I photographed, which is every documentary photographers dream. PACSA were keen for the photographs to reflect more then their actual work and rather the context in which their work emerged and evolved. Continue reading →
An interview from about two years ago, for the project Photography and Democracy, and courtesy Eva-Lotta Jannsen. Photography and Democracy has many other such interviews with South African photographers and is an important site to visit to learn and find out more about the views of South African photographers, especially regarding the concept and their views around democracy.
I begin the title of this presentation with migrants because in a sense that’s my story, my own personal experience of the world, and it would seem, that of so many other South Africans, and indeed other citizens of the world.
Migrancy, a defining experience worldwide, has been such for millennia, and seems especially so in our present globalised world. The rapid shifts in demographics play havoc with social planning and its various constructs. Mirrored to these shifting human movements, is that of rapidly shifting economies and finances, with finances in particular having become virtual. How we experience this ‘virtuality’, is all too real however. Continue reading →
I put off completing this post for several months, while wars raged around the globe, and war photographers and journalists were taken hostage in countries like Syria, held for ransom and a few decapitated live on camera. One reason is I felt torn that perhaps I was being too facetious about a matter of life and death. I’ve thought long and hard about it and returned to my original feelings on the matter, which are as follows:
Well, there I go again on that P word and concept. But if you think about it, it most definitely concerns images, so I need to give it my best shot. A disclaimer is that I was singularly unsuccessful in my brief stint in the said profession. I did make a few memorable images in the Natal war, and promptly had a moral crises when realizing that I along with other unsavoury characters was benefiting from the death of many innocents, and worse feeding a culture of fear. Continue reading →
Rorke’s Drift is the site of the earliest school for black artists, as well as one of the earliest arts and craft centers in South Africa. It is also the site of a battle associated with the Isandhlwana battlsite in which the British army was defeated by the Zulu’s. The battle of Rorke’s Drift took place immediately after that of Isandlwana, and was lost by the Zulu’s.
The documentary is about another battle, that of the Evangelical Lutheran Church’s Rorke’s Drift Arts and Craft Center, which has experienced many ups and downs in its struggle to survive. This documentary is both an investigation into the trails and tribulations of the development sector through an arts institution, and a tribute to this iconic and legendary South African arts and craft center.
The publication Transitions is one of number of outcomes of an agreement known as the France South Africa Season. This exercise, which took place between 2012 and 2013, was aimed at strengthening relations between the two countries. In 2012 South Africa hosted France and vice versa In 2013. It took place in different areas of each country, covered a wide range of activities in different sectors, including arts and culture, business and investment, science and technology, tourism, sports and education. Continue reading →
Karima Effendi (KE): When it comes to training and professional development, how important is the idea of exchange as demonstrated in the Joburg Photo Harare masterclass?
Cedric Nunn (CN): Exchange is key to the development of life in general, and in our specific regional context where countries were separated by ideological differences, fostering connections through exchange is critical. We need to be made aware of our commonalities and shared interests.
If you think of Zimbabwe, there are “perceived” differences between us (South Africa and Zimbabwe). We have a particular understanding of the processes that happened in Zimbabwe, which comes from these perceived differences. Continue reading →
Social Landscapes, also called ‘Transitions’, is a French/South Africa Season project. The interview by Jeanne Fouchet here is published in the book ‘Transitions’.
ITV Cedric Nunn
Cedric Nunn uses photography to remind South Africa of the unsuccessful resistance of its indigenous people to the confiscation of their land. Nunn’s photographs not only keep alive the tragic history of land-thefts, but also show how indigenous people remain dispossessed and excluded from their ancestral homes, as the exploitation of the region by global mining and agricultural interests continues unabated. Cedric Nunn took his photography series in the Eastern Cape Province, Grahamstown, Peddie, and Hogsback.
Q. You have always been a socially engaged photographer. How does the series you completed for this project continue that work?
The project I chose for this series was one I was intending to do independently for myself, and indeed, it has just been begun and is in need of a lot more work towards completion. It dovetailed with the “Social Landscape” project and therefore it was imperative to begin with it. Continue reading →
Working as an independent stills photographer in the field of information and knowledge production, I quickly came to the understanding that the work I was producing constituted an archive, or was capable of being understood as an archive. This realization came from my early association and membership of the Afrapix collective and agency which operated from the early eighties until around 1991.
The photographers who constituted Afrapix all kept individual ownership and custody of the negatives of the work they produced, and Afrapix would then distribute the images via a photographic print. Photographers regularly produced more prints of the ones kept in the Afrapix library as these went out for reproduction in the various publications they were to be used in.
When Afrapix disbanded in the early nineties, the prints, which were still in the library were returned to the individual photographers to whom they belonged. Continue reading →