One of South Africa’s leading photographers, Pieter Hugo documents the people and landscapes of Africa. Hugo is interested in capturing images of the continent’s marginalized peoples, including the blind, albinos, and AIDS victims in their coffins. In his series “Permanent Error” (2009-10), Hugo captures the people and landscape of an expansive technology dump of obsolete technology in Ghana. Though he lists David Goldblatt and Boris Mikhailov as influences, Hugo’s work counters the thread of realism in South African photography the two represent. “I am of a generation that approaches photography with a keen awareness of the problems inherent in pointing a camera at anything,” he says.
My work is deeply tied to my experience growing up in South Africa. It’s very hard to separate that, as much as I’d like to think it’s based on completely personal prerogatives, it’s still tied up in the topography of where I grew up and the constant negotiation of that space…I guess photography, in the beginning, gave me an excuse to really go out and engage with that, which I think is what good photography is about. It comes down to an engagement with the world.