Last April, the New York Times ran a beautiful feature called, “Quiet Photos of Turbulent South Africa.” The photographer, Cedric Nunn, was born in Nongoma, KwaZulu, and raised in Hluhluwe, Mangete and Baynesfield. KwaZulu-Natal is an enigmatic piece of South Africa nestled in the Northeastern corner of the country, up by the Mozambican border.
I spent a few months in a park there in 2007 and was completely taken by the place. Its history is fascinating, its landscapes are beautiful, its people are diverse in all senses of the word, and the whole province is often overlooked. Its park policies alone reflect the quirky and fiercely independent nature of the place – they are the only province that refused to join the national network of reserves. They prefer to manager their wildlife and tourist spots as they see fit. Their management body, Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, has received multiple awards for the quality of their efforts to preserve everything from coral reefs to savannas for the people of South Africa.
Nunn is a brilliant ambassador for a brilliant place. He brings us pieces from pre and post-Apartheid KwaZulu-Natal. His shots are often moments of quiet that, in their stillness, set the tumult of the country in stark relief. (More on Cedric Nunn here)
A retrospective of his work is on display at Museum Africa in Newtown through January 29th, and his book Call and Response is scheduled for release in April 2012 (Pre-order it here).
In the meantime, you can view eleven collections on Nunn’s website: Blood Relatives, Cuito Cuanavale, Farm Workers, Hidden Years, In Camera, Jazz, Johannesburg, Rural Development, SANPAD, Struggle, and Then and Now. They are all stunning, but my personal favorite is Hidden Years. Nunn describes it as follows:
- “These images formed a part of my first solo exhibition held at the KwaMuhle Museum in Durban in 1996. The exhibition was my take on the years in then Natal that were largely neglected by the mainstream media, and yet which I felt were of crucial importance in the make up of our national and provincial psychology.”
I’ll leave you with a few pieces from Hidden Years and heartily encourage you to take in and enjoy Cedric Nunn’s work.