A Photograph by Jansen van Staden
In almost every case, the onlookers are seen with their lips apart, and their heads inclined in the same direction. I note how the small crowd have gathered as close to the edge of a pavement as they can manage, and that behind them there is room for passersby to make their way unmoved by a sense of emergency. It is a mystery of the picture that they see what I cannot see, and that their pose indicates the climax of a drama whose resolution remains unclear.
— Emmanuel Iduma
“I can only change myself, and sometimes the act of photography lends a hand.”
During a walk around Cape Town's CBD, I noticed a crowd of people gathered, all looking up and pointing to a small open window across the road. Through the sirens of fire trucks and an ambulance, I heard someone scream “jump” followed by laughter from the crowd. The window was too small for a person, I thought. Turns out it was just a false fire alarm and an open window.
I am interested in the act of looking in all its flavours. When I look at this photo now, I am reminded of a quote from the movie Amelie: “Only the fool looks at the finger that points to the sky.”
I'm not sure if I believe that a photograph can change anything. I can only change myself, and sometimes the act of photography lends a hand. Photography is a tool for reflection. Furthermore, I believe photography can help us question and create meaning.
— Jansen van Staden
About Jansen van Staden
Jansen van Staden is a South African photographer and author of Microlight. “I use street photography as a conceptual entry point to reflect on personal imaginaries and social constructs of belonging and disconnect,” he says. See more on his website and Instagram profile.
Last Week — Alfred Quartey
I try to keep everything true to the scene. Very early in my career I realized how easy photo manipulation is, and how dangerous it could be. This continues to guide me.
Read More: Whomever Hideth Your Beauty Hideth The Wind
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This is the 56th edition of this publication. The newsletter can also read on web (best for viewing images), and via the Substack iOS/Android apps. Every Wednesday I feature one photograph and the photographer who took it: you’d read a short caption from me, and a statement from the photographer. My goal is to support early to mid-career African photographers by engaging with their work, and to create a platform in which photographers lead the cataloguing and criticism of their work. If this newsletter was shared with you, consider subscribing, or forward to a friend. Please whitelist the newsletter to ensure you never miss it.