Lindokuhle Sobekwa and Mikhael Subotzky take photos of a world few have access to.
In 2006, when Magnum photographer Mikhael Subotzky started his yearlong project documenting life in and around a prison on a traffic island in the rural South African town of Beaufort West, journalist Hazel Friedman published the crime novel Hijack!, written under the alias Guy Brown, the book is one of the first published references to nyaope, a popular street drug that is a cocktail of low-grade heroin, cannabis, and antiretroviral drugs. Friedman recorded that nyaope was (as it still is) "all the rage with the youngsters in Soweto, Mamelodi, Soshanguve, and Atteridgeville," black settlements surrounding Johannesburg and Pretoria.
Like a failed science-fiction utopia, this Apartheid-era residential tower has become the city’s “focal point [of] dreams and nightmares, seen as refuge or monstrosity, dreamland or dystopia, a lightning rod for a society’s hopes and fears…”
Like a failed science-fiction utopia, the dreams of Ponte were quickly dashed against the sharp truths of reality. Even the initial fantasies never came to fruition and then the tower began its long descent into infamy and decay
Mikhael Subotzky’s road leads us to a prison, one located right in the middle of an intersection, right in the middle of a city, it radiates out from the prison. You would have to be South African to imagine such a concept. Subotzky, 31, is fascinated by prisons. He has made it an important theme of his reportages, highly acclaimed in his native South Africa and abroad (Arles, New York, London). A book has already been made from this 2006 reportage, Beaufort West. In 2007 Subotzky joined the prestigious Magnum photos agency
I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am about the new Magnum project, Postcards From America. This May, I’m going to be joining four other photographers (Jim Goldberg, Susan Meiselas…
This May, I’m going to be joining four other photographers (Jim Goldberg, Susan Meiselas, Chris Anderson, Mikhael Subotzky) and the writer Ginger Strand for a two week road trip from San Antonio to Oakland.
This is a unique project for Magnum. We are working collaboratively and are hoping to engage much more directly with our audience. At the beginning of the trip we will be doing a public event at the Harry Ransom Center in Austin. And at the end we’re going to do a pop-up exhibition somewhere in Oakland.
I just came across his latest project “Ponte City” on his new website. He has thrown me around again, and I believe (and hope) it will for many others too. He has photographed every Door, Window and Television in an iconic and infamous 54-story apartment building in Johannesburg.
Leica Oskar Barnack Award Winner Photography
Leica Oskar Barnack Award Winner Photography | Hypebeast:
Leica recently announced the winner of their 30th Annual Oskar Barnack Award, in South African Mikhael Subotzky. Aside from earning respect throughout the photography community, Mikhael received a generous monetary prize from the historic German camera makers. With the winner now being announced, Leica offers a complete look into the photographer’s series of winning photographs. Excellent would be an understatement, as each image captures the essence of its subject matter brilliantly.
A Conversation with Mikhael Subotzky (Conscientious)
Mikhael Subotzky is one of Magnum’s youngest and newest members, and his first book Beaufort West was one of my favourite photography books last year. I got interested in talking to Mikhael after seeing the book and reading a comment he had left on Magnum’s blog, under a post about photojournalism.
State of the Art: Subotzky Wins Eugene Smith Grant
South African photographer Mikhael Subotzky has been awarded the 2008 W. Eugene Smith Grant in Humanistic Photography. Subotzky received the grant, worth $30,000, for his project “Crime, Punishment and Security in Post-Apartheid South Africa.”
Quote: “For me, photography has become a way of attempting to make sense of the very strange world that I see around me. I don’t ever expect to achieve that understanding, but the fact that I am trying comforts me”