Thanks to Peter and Johan for a great spread in Platteland magazine. It’s always a thrill to see these images in print…
I travelled to St Helena Island – off the coast of, well, nowhere, in December 2018 for Smithsonian Magazine, to photograph a story on Napoleon. He famously saw out his last years there in exile, banished from his beloved France. While the island, because of its complete remoteness (it gained its first runway and subsequent air service in 2018 allowing a plane from Johannesburg, via Windhoek, to make a weekly – controversial – flight) saw other exiles and famous people (Zulu kings, Anglo Boer war prisoners, Halley of Halley’s Comet fame to name a few) it was the famed French general that put the island on the map.
Happy to announce that I’m one of 25 artists shortlisted for the Contemporary African Prize in Photography for 2019. I’m completely and totally overwhelmed to find myself in such fine company.
See some of the amazing portfolios here
The winners will be announced at Photo Basel in June.
My entry is from my body of work THE LAND THAT BEGINS AGAIN
It’s been said that wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow. I would argue that who you are leads you to certain places…For me this could be said about the Karoo.
The semi-desert folds of the Karoo stretch over five degrees of longitude of South Africa. Swaths of arid, dusty and desolate land that to the naked eye looks like nothing, but with the right tilt of the head is teeming with life and vibrancy. There are a few scattered towns and the country’s main highway that conveniently and quickly escorts people through it without stopping.
Four generations ago though my ancestors stopped and made a life here. They, like I do now, recognize the incredible beauty of this nothingness.
The Land That Begins Again is a love letter, of sorts, to that place of dust and dreams. It’s an exploration of my self, past and present, in a geography that is at once universal and at the same time so uniquely South African it is not possible to separate it’s DNA (or mine) from its physical place on a map or its specific existence in a time in history.
The final presentation of this work includes items – collected from the Karoo – which will be exhibited alongside the images.
Starting the year off looking back…at Mongolia. Just loaded a HUGE edit on my website (www.samreinders.com) from the last two years trips to North Western Mongolia. Join me in October this year on a photo tour to the 2019 Eagle Festival. Mail me for details.
Easily one of my best assignments of the year.
The first few days of November saw Photo Kathmandu spread itself out through the dusty warren of alleyways of Patan in the Kathmandu Valley. Patan is the oldest city in the valley (Lalitipur, its other name, means “city of beauty”) – and this was the first international photo festival in the country. It couldn’t have been more of a success if it tried. Inspiring, insanely well organized, well curated, engaging…Photographs adorned walls throughout the ancient city, the bricks under them rounded by centuries and still standing after April’s devastating earthquake here. Despite a crippling fuel crisis that is clouding the mood and logistics of the country crowds came to see them – touching the images, feeling them, debating the captions, giggling, even crying. There were no sterile white gallery walls, no archival glass or whispered niceties (kids screamed with laugher during the evening slideshows…a highlight!). At night the conversations continued, friends were made, idea’s shared, pop up galleries stuck to walls. I can’t say thank you enough to Nayantara Gurung Kakshapati and @nepalphotoproject (Sumit and Tara) – the inspirations behind being here, and the reason I got on a plane. Not the slightest regret.