PLACED: conversations on the sites of South African photography archives

Photo Workshop Gallery
Market Photo Workshop
14 June 2017
10h00  – 15h30 

Free and open to the public

The future of any archive remains uncertain. Yielding to the needs, disturbances and power relations that flow through societies, an archive can grow, diminish, disappear, reappear or change in context based on the desire of its keepers, or equally at phenomena that their keeper cannot control. Archives remain contemporary in part because their fate is always unfolding, their vulnerability a drawn out event that links history to an uncertain future.

In “post-colonial” territories this is especially true for archives and historical collections that were caught in the economics and cultural appropriation of the colonial project, and that are still suspended between the “here” of a complex understanding of home and the “there” of abduction or exile. More recently, in South Africa, the focus has come on the contemporary movement of photographic archives to other territories, and the effects of such a transferral on archives that are tied to a specific place through their content, the context of their making and their maker.

PLACED will convene South African photographers, historians, educators and activists to pose and answer questions that confront the complexity of decisions for an archive to remain or stay, how the site which holds a photographic archive could effect its citation and reading, and the structures, both visible and invisible, that govern archival mobility, access and ownership within an expanded field of photography.



10h00: Arrival Tea and Coffee

10h30: Welcoming Remarks

11h00 – 11h30: Candice Jansen (WiSER) on where regimes of classification and modes of interpretation place the imaginative potential for archives in South Africa, with a focus on the archives of Cedric Nunn and Ernest Cole.

11h30 – 12h30: Boitumelo Mofokeng in conversation with Buyaphi Mdledle (Photographer, Historian and Educator) on the live(s) of Santu Mofokeng’s photography archive through interrogations of ownership and accessibility.

12h30: Break and Refreshments

13h00: Linda Chernis and Jenny Marsden (GALA: Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action) on how photographs feature in GALA’s archival collections, from personal photograph albums to pride parades and protest marches, with a focus on the archive of Kewpie of District 6.

13h30 – 14h00: Rangoato Hlasane and Malose Malahlela (Keleketla! Library) on the place of South African photography archives in education today.

14h00 – 15h30: Panel discussion with all speakers, moderated by Dr. Same Mdluli (History of Art, Wits School of Arts)


About the Market Photo Workshop

For over twenty-seven years, the Market Photo Workshop has played a pivotal role in the training of South Africa’s photographers, ensuring that visual literacy reaches neglected and marginalized parts of our society. World-renowned photographer, David Goldblatt contributed vastly to the establishment of Market Photo Workshop in 1988 – 1999. Since then, the Photo Workshop has been an agent of change and representation, informing photographers, visual artists, educators, students and broader communities of trends, issues, and debates in photography and visual culture.

The Market Photo Workshop also runs a number of Public Programmes, which are a series of events involving and directed at professional photographers, visual artists, educators, students as well as the broader public. These Public Programmes seek to inform the trends, practices, methods, and contemporary ways of working and thinking in South African photography practice through exposure to a broad understanding of visual culture as well as a networking platform that encourages critical thinking and engagements.

Showcasing a number of high profile local and international photographers, as well as student and alumni photography work, the Market Photo Workshop has been able to build a strong and consistent audience base around our gallery, ‘The Photo Workshop Gallery’ in Newtown, which is on the same premises as the school. Since 2005, when the gallery was initially launched, the kind of platform it has engendered encourages not only emerging students to experience and enter into professional practice, but has distilled a new type of photographic practice amongst the greater artistic community. Various critical discourses, especially around the role documentary photography, have been stimulated by the multitude of exhibitions that have shown at The Photo Workshop Gallery creating dynamic interactions between students and the greater photography community. In 2017, Market Photo Workshop relocated to its new state of art photography facility at Market Square premises by the Mary Fitzgerald Square.


For more information, please contact:

Mika Conradie
Manager: Public Programmes and Development
T +27 (0) 11 834 1444

Market Photo Workshop
c/o Market Square
138 Lilian Ngoyi St
Entrance at Margaret Mcingana Street

The Market Photo Workshop is a division of The Market Theatre Foundation.