of blood sweat and data/

On People, Place and Photography

Studio Nxumalo in collaboration with Through The Lens Collective presents an exhibition of contemporary documentary photography by established and new voices, who engage the city, its people, and diverse social structure through the mode of Portraiture. 

As a cosmopolitan city built largely on labour migration, a wealth of unknown stories and realities continue to unfold within this diverse and complex city, inspiring new generations of photographers, driven by a deep sense of curiosity about their own surroundings - to portray the people who co-inhabit this unique space.  

This exhibition approaches portraiture as a complex act of representation, social interest and artistic vision - qualities which embody the unique and diverse character of Johannesburg and its people. Here, we broadly consider the social significance of documentary portrait photography – and its power to shift perceptions through the simple, and yet layered act of seeing and portraying each other. 

The enduring socio-political impact of ‘witnessing’ is evidenced by the immense historical value of documentary photography in South Africa. The views of the photographers presented here serve as vital contributions to an ongoing visual engagement with the city, placing these intimate considerations of each other within a larger web of social activism.


Lindokuhle Sobekwa,  Lebogang Tlhako,  Nonzuzo Gxekwa, Sibusiso Gcaba, Matt Kay, Simphiwe Majozi, Tshepo Moloi,

Tshepiso Mazibuko, Kgomotso Neto and Jack Markovitz

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