This body of photographs, titled Separate Amenities, examines the way in which the landscape was constructed to enforce separation, in the form of separate amenities, during the time of apartheid in South Africa. The recreational spaces I have focused on previously functioned as separate facilities for different racial groups on every level of society, including separate beaches, parks, walkways and swimming pools.
By exploring this recreational landscape, constructed through political, social and psychological factors, a view can be obtained of how the physical structuring of the landscape has been altered to implement control and separation. It reflects a level of social engineering, through a flawed political system of racial segregation, which has led to spaces of ambiguity, incongruity and ultimate failure.
This reveals the many ways in which ideology has shaped our landscape and comments on the fact that despite the failure of apartheid, the structuring of the landscape in South Africa has had a lasting affect, which as Okwui Enwezor said is “an entirely unique specimen of the historical failure of moral imagination” in South Africa.
My practice is situated within the notion of the landscape as a construct and I view my images as photographic constructs which foreground the ideologies of those who created these spaces. The philosophy of segregation inherent in these apartheid structures reflects elements of control, fear and power: elements which today acts as evidence of a time and modus operandi of the creators of that system.
— Vincent Bezuidenhout, Cape Town, South Africa
The abundance of churches and the strong influence religion has on the community in the American South was a bit overwhelming, coming from the West. In most neighborhoods in the Savannah area you can find a church on every other street, regardless of where you are in the city. Locals tell me “This is way it has always been and this is how it’s going to be until we perish.”
Vernacular architecture is a category of architecture based on localized needs and construction materials and reflecting local traditions. Vernacular architecture tends to evolve over time to reflect the environmental, cultural, technological and historical contexts in which it exists. It has been dismissed as crude and unrefined, but also has proponents who highlight its importance in current design.
No matter what church I go to I am always throughly interested in the structure and the location of each of these buildings, and what varies from structure to structure based on the location.
— Jahmad Balugo, Savannah, Georgia, USA
This ongoing body of work is an exploration of the peripheral, the insignificant and sometimes monumental spaces within the Inland Seto Sea islands in southern Japan. I’m drawn to intersections of public and private, natural and the built environment, literal and metaphorical boundaries that offer protection as well as isolation. Acknowledging that place suggests an experiential encounter and space points to the unknown, these images invoke the dichotomy of an intimate encounter against the distanced backdrop of foreign observation. They are, in one sense, more about the act of looking than a narrative about place. Though they involve a detailed transcription of place, they operate within the perpetually-passing, moment–ambiguous fragments of the material world.
The title of this series, Borrowed Views, is loosely based on shakkei (borrowed scenery/views), a stylized perspective strategy used in traditional Eastern landscape painting and 17th-century Japanese garden design. In the former, vistas are overlaid to influence the way the eye perceives near, middle and far distance; in the latter, a nearby landscape monument is framed within the garden to create a meticulously-constructed focal point. Referencing a conscious manipulation of the natural world, these images evoke both real and imagined thresholds and boundaries, and refer back to the mediated construction of reality within the photograph.
— Martina Shenal, Tucson, Arizona, USA