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16 February 2011


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You're not alone, John:

I don't care so much anymore about 'good photography.' I am gathering evidence for history.

-Gilles Peress

I like the quote, Stan.

There's no doubt, of course, that Peress's "evidence" are also very good photographs.

In fact, their usefulness as "evidence" depends on their strength as photos. Bad photos = bad evidence.

Great post. Made me think of the limitations of current forms in which we as academics tell history/capture politics.

Also, you captured well the contradictions of coloured identity in Cape Town.
One other line to explore would be relations for example between coloureds and African migrants. Though xenophobia is rife--as it is generally among South Africans--my anecdotal evidence (family, friends, working class neighborhood where I grew up)--suggest interesting new identities (esp through marriage) among coloureds and migrants. Some films have explored these already. There is an interesting short film about a Congolese father and his relationship with his son in CT that explores it. When I remember the title I'll get it.
BTW, I ordered your Goema Beat book!

Inspiring post, John. You remind all of us that there are many ways that we fall into our historical topics, and only some of them involve libraries and archives. As you know, the next project on my list wouldn't exist if I hadn't bought a certain house in a certain place that made me ask a lot of questions and challenge a lot of assumptions. We celebrate the lived experiences of our historical subjects but sometimes overlook the importance of our own.

Keep making those pretty pictures!

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