Browsing by Author "Josephy, Svea Valeska"
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- ItemThe development of a critical practice in post-apartheid South African photography(Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University, 2001-03) Josephy, Svea Valeska; Arnold, Marion; Ractliffe, J.; Stellenbosch University. Faculty of Arts & Social Sciences. Dept. of Visual Arts.ENGLISH ABSTRACT: South African photography in the 20th century was dominated by the documentary genre. This genre has its roots in 19th century Modernist and colonialist belief in the accuracy of the camera as a tool of representation, and faith in the camera's objectivity and ability to present empirical evidence and 'truth'. These positivist notions were carried into South African documentary practice during the apartheid era. Apartheid-era South African documentary photography was particularly focused on exposing the socio-political ills of apartheid in order to gain support for the liberation movement, both locally and abroad. It was serious and didactic in its purpose and did not allow for creative responses to the medium, as the camera was seen as a 'weapon' of the struggle. The 1990s saw the beginning of the emergence of a liberated South Africa. The documentary imperative to record and expose apartheid practices was now increasingly redundant. Photographers, particularly after the elections, were faced with a 'crisis' of sorts in documentary as the main focus of their subject had been removed. The upshot of this was that documentary photographers had to find new subjects, which they had to approach in different ways. The arrival of Postmodernism in South Africa coincided with the demise of apartheid. It had in essence been kept at bay by what seemed to be the more pressing issues of the struggle. Postmodern art and its theoretical base, post-structuralism, argued for an erosion of the previously fixed concepts of genre, and allowed for the mixing of the previously separate categories of 'documentary' and 'art'. There was a radical questioning of previously fixed constructs of race, identity, class and gender. The erosion of the documentary imperative to record allowed for more creative responses to the medium than ever before. Artists were able to experiment technically, with video, multi-media, digital photography, historical processes, colour, composite work and interactive pieces. In this thesis I explore the above-mentioned shift and situate my practical work within this contemporary paradigm.