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Representations of Africa: Noah Rabinowitz Interviews Pieter Hugo

 The Hyena And Other MenGuernica‘s Noah Rabinowitz recently interviewed photographer Pieter Hugo about the controversy surrounding his work, negotiating representations of Africa and his thoughts on artists appropriation of other people’s work.

Hugo discusses the music video that referenced his images from The Hyena And Other Men and what led him to photographing his Nollywood series.

South African Pieter Hugo’s striking photographs of contemporary Africa, infamously referenced by Beyoncé Knowles and Nick Cave’s Grinderman music videos, have garnered global recognition. His work has been collected by the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The FOAM Museum of Photography, and The Museum of Modern Art. With even a passing glance at this young artist’s curriculum vitae, his influence on contemporary art and photography is clear.

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa in 1976, Hugo is a self-taught documentary photographer. His images are created using a large format camera, a bulky piece of equipment that does not lend itself to the surreptitious photographer. His work hinges on a personal interaction and connection with his subjects. “The power of photography is inherently voyeuristic,” he said in an interview with The Independent last year. “But I want that desire to look to be confronted.” And yet, he is “deeply suspicious of the power of photography.”

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Photo courtesy Guernica


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