The Durban Center for Photography
Every photograph is a portrait of the photographer: Dorothea Lange
Lange’s words encapsulate the ethos of the newly revived Durban Center for Photography at the KZNSA. Twelve young students have embarked on a journey of self-discovery that fosters a vision which explores their realities, social context pushing the boundaries of the medium and the possibilities of subjective perspectives.
This pilot workshop will be run over three months. A new paradigm in photographic teaching, facilitating and mentoring is being explored. Themes include, the History of African Photography, Visual Literacy and Visual intelligence, Conceptual approaches to Photography, Critical thinking and the Act of Photography. Four questions underpin and coalesce these themes: What is a photograph? How do we read photographs? Why do we make photographs? How do we make photographs?
The past monthshas seen the group explore cultural, social and political identities as a precursor to exploring personal perspectives and vision. The workshop is image based with professional photographers teaching from behind their work. Peter McKenzie an internationally renowned photographer and facilitator is co-coordinating the project which will realize a diversity of training and workshop opportunities in 2014.
The program will see a practical public/group project in December and January along the theme ‘A Visual Audit of the city of Durban’. The images will be exhibited at the KZNSA.
The program is supported by the Department of Arts and Culture and the KZNSA.
This project has seen 10 student photographers embark on a month long project to create a ‘visual audit’ of the Ethekweni Municipality Region. This entails the photographic documentation of various aspects of the city and its peripheries to better understand the dynamics of contemporary urbanization patterns and emerging urban cultures.
The Durban metropolis has realized significant development in infrastructure, urban mobility, civilian movement, transport nodes and entrepreneurial evolution which are driven by newfound challenges in redressing inhibiting historical realities.
Photographs by their nature could inform a myriad of urban initiatives by exposing different aspects of the city for urban planning, architecture, development initiatives, cultural endeavor through public art and civil society awareness. Given the vital government infrastructure initiative announced recently by President Zuma this project will be a timely intervention for reflection on Durban’s urban realities.
Importantly the project will demonstrate the possibility for art to inform all aspects of development and confound the perception of its elitist, gallery based past. The idea of functional art will be explored through mobile exhibitions for public access, low cost publications and professional engagement with city stakeholders.
- Peter McKenzie