Sunday, 29 November 2009

Pieter Hugo Shows An Africa You've Never Seen

Pieter Hugo is a photographer most widely known for his searing photographs of Nigerian life. His unsettling images are simultaneously jarring, powerful, and beautiful.

Hugo shows an Africa you've never before seen. From the infamous Hyena Men series, which depicts the nomadic group of Nigerian families who raise and showcase hyenas to support themselves, to his Nollywood series, an area akin to a twisted version of Hollywood, Hugo finds the gritty realities of African life and presents them in shocking, albeit respectful, images.

His politically charged work depicts a country and continent that is in turmoil, but has also found a way to make things work. Hugo unveils a reality we do not often get to see.

Hugo grew up in a bohemian family in Cape Town, and is self-taught, having picked up a camera aged 10. He never stopped taking photos of everything around him; always feeling somewhat like an outside in his home continent.

“My homeland is Africa, but I'm white,” he says. “I feel African, whatever that means, but if you ask anyone in South Africa if I'm African, they will almost certainly say no. I don't fit into the social topography of my country and that certainly fueled why I became a photographer.”

More on Pieter Hugo at

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