28.10.17 – 18.11.17
SMAC Gallery is proud to present PEER, a group exhibition of photographic works. This show focuses on selected photographers practicing on the African continent; their work has been produced in a variety of photographic mediums and sizes. Photographers exhibiting in PEER are:
Leonce Raphael Agbodjélou (Porto-Novo, Benin)
Shamil Balram (Durban, South Africa)
Margaret Courtney-Clarke (Swakopmund, Namibia)
Zara Julius (Johannesburg, South Africa)
Musa N. Nxumalo (Johannesburg, South Africa)
Ashley Walters (Cape Town, South Africa)
Sydelle Willow Smith (Cape Town, South Africa)
One of the many challenges in contemporary photography is selection. Photographers must practice the art of whittling – as classical sculptors would peel, hew and pare down a slab of wood or marble – the photographer of today must whittle away at his or her body of work, to select only a fraction of the photographs that were captured. The selection of images in PEER will represent each photographer’s unique view of their chosen subjects, but what is perhaps more thought-provoking, is what (and whom) has been photographed. The photographers in PEER foster their ability to see, and be seen, in their intended manner.
While most contemporary photographers are unhindered by film and chemical processes; they are burdened by the prolific amount of scenes and subjects on which to focus. With such an abundance of subject matter, within hand’s – or eye’s – reach; photographers are trapped into the gruelling task of pruning thousands of digital files to select a handful of the very best images for print.
Even though the practicalities of the discipline may have become more accessible, the medium faces challenges of technical advancement that many other classical arts do not. The most glaring of such challenges is the ubiquitous nature of digital visual imagery. With devices from mobile phones to spectacles being created with the ability to take photographs – and not just low quality snaps, but high-resolution imagery – the only thing providing the elitism, so prevalent in the art world, is cost of equipment. With the expansive pool of practitioners working in the discipline, one expects competition and one-upmanship. However, instead of partaking in such cliquish behaviour, each of the artists included in this exhibition embrace their peers. In addition to being photographers, many teach and share their knowledge and skills. This exhibition is not only a showcase of compelling photographs, but also a collection of inspiring philosophies of practice.