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Lindokuhle Sobekwa
Lindokuhle Sobekwa

Lindokuhle Sobekwa

Country: South Africa
Birth: 1995

Lindokuhle Sobekwa (born 1995) is a South African documentary photographer. He is a Nominee member of Magnum Photos and based in Johannesburg. Sobekwa was born in Katlehong, a township, 35 km from Johannesburg, South Africa. He learned photography in 2012 through participation in the first Of Soul and Joy Project, an educational program for young people run in the township of Thokoza; the workshop was given by Bieke Depoorter and Cyprien Clément-Delmas. His photo essay, Nyaope, about people who use the drug Nyaope in the township in which he lived and beyond, was published by the South African newspaper Mail & Guardian in 2014 and by Vice Magazine and De Standaard in 2015.

Source: Wikipedia


In 2015, Sobekwa received a scholarship to study at the Market Photo Workshop where he completed his foundation course. His Series Nyaope was exhibited in the ensuing group show, Free From My Happiness, organized by Rubis Mecenat at the International Photo Festival of Ghent in Belgium. In 2016, he left South Africa for a Residency in Tehran, Iran, with the No Man’s Art Gallery. The same year his work was displayed in the traveling iteration of Free from my Happiness.

His work features in the book Free from my Happiness edited by Bieke Depoorter and Tjorven Bruyneel . He also took part in the group show Fresh Produce, organized by Assemblages and VANSA at the Turbine Art Fair in Johannesburg. Lindokuhle Sobekwa is also an assistant manager to the Of Soul and Joy Project, as well as a trainee at Mikhael Subotzky Studio.

In 2017, Sobekwa was selected by the Magnum Foundation for Photography and Social Justice to develop the project I Carry Her Photo With Me. In 2018, he received the Magnum Foundation Fund to continue with his longterm project Nyaope, and has been selected for the residency Cité des Arts Réunion.

Sobekwa became a Magnum nominee member in 2018.

Source: Magnum Photos


About I Carry Her Photo With Me
The day his older sister Ziyanda disappeared, Lindokuhle Sobekwa was hit by a car. The two were walking together along a road in the Johannesburg suburb of Thokoza when Ziyanda began to chase the seven-year-old Sobekwa. Out of fear, he began to run, and then he was hit. Above him, he recalled before blacking out, was the blurry silhouette of a woman or girl. His sister vanished in the ensuing scramble, with no word as to why. “She was in a period of being a very secretive person,” Sobekwa remembers. She was thirteen years old.

Sobekwa would not see Ziyanda again for a dozen years. Then one day, he returned from school, and Ziyanda was at home. She was reunited with the family for a couple of weeks. At the time, in 2014, Sobekwa was coming into his own as a photographer. He was in his final year of high school and working under the mentorship of Magnum photographer Bieke Depoorter and filmmaker Cyprien Clément-Delmas through the Of Soul and Joy project, an artistic initiative based in Thokoza. He remembers walking into Ziyanda’s room one day; in that moment, he saw his favorite would-be portrait of his sister: “She was lying in bed, there was a beautiful light. She said, ‘If you take a photo, I’m going to kill you.’ A few days after that, she passed away.”

Disappearances are not rare in South Africa, Sobekwa says. Most Black South African families are familiar with the trauma of disappearances, which date back to the late 1980s and early ’90s, the height of the apartheid crisis. During this time, an ethnopolitical war between two rival parties, the African National Congress (ANC) and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), suffused the townships with panic, as residents along the factional line were routinely vanished by violence. In Sobekwa’s family, the cycle began with his grandfather, who was the first of the line to come to Johannesburg, in the 1960s. He never returned to the countryside; his fate is still unknown.

In 2017, the Magnum Foundation named Sobekwa a Photography and Social Justice Fellow. Suddenly, he had the resources to expand his search for his sister and develop his personal journal into a full-fledged series, I carry Her photo with Me (2017–ongoing).

“I had my own unanswered questions, maybe guilt of some sort,” says Sobekwa. “I felt the need to go into these spaces and make the camera my excuse. I realized that going alone, it would be difficult.” With his camera in hand, he slipped once more into the role of documentarian.

Source: Aperture


 

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By 1955 White was fully engaged in teaching, having been appointed as instructor at the new four-year photography program at RIT as well as conducting classes and workshops at Ohio University and Indiana University. Walter Chappell moved to Rochester later in the year to work at the George Eastman House. Chappell engaged White in long discussions about various Eastern religions and philosophies. White began practicing Zen meditation and adopted a Japanese style of decoration in his house. Over the next two years the discussions between White and Chappell metamorphosed into lengthy discourses about the writing and philosophy of George Gurdjieff. White gradually became an adherent of Gurdjieff's teachings and started to incorporate Gurdjieff's thinking into the design and implementation of his workshops. Gurdjieff's concepts, for White, were not just intellectual exercises but guides to experience, and they greatly influenced much of his approach to teaching and photography throughout the rest of his life. During this same period White began making his first color images. Although he is better known for his black-and-white photography, he produced many color photographs. His archive contains nearly 9,000 35mm transparencies taken between 1955 and 1975. In 1959 White mounted a large exhibition of 115 photos of his Sequence 13/Return to the Bud at the George Eastman House. It was his largest exhibition to date. It later traveled to the Portland Art Museum in Oregon. White was invited to teach a 10-days', all-expense paid workshop in Portland to accompany the exhibition. He took advantage of the funding to photograph landscapes and did nature studies across the country. From his experience in Portland he developed the idea for a full-time residential workshop in Rochester in which students would learn through both formal sessions and, following a combination of thinking from Gurdjieff and from Zen, through an understanding gained by the discipline of such tasks as household chores and early morning workouts. He would continue this style of residential teaching until he died. In the early 1960s White also studied hypnosis and incorporated the practice into some of his teachings as a way of helping students experience photographs. White continued to teach extensively both privately and at RIT for the next several years. During this time he traveled across the U.S. in the summers taking photographs along the way. In his journal he referred to himself during this period as "The Wanderer," which had both literal and metaphorical meanings due to his search for understanding life. In 1962 he met Michael Hoffman, who became a friend, colleague and, later, assumed the editorship of Aperture magazine. White later named Hoffman to be the executor of his will. In 1965 White was invited to help design a newly formed program in visual arts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, near Boston. After being appointed as a Visiting Professor, White moved to the Boston area and purchased a 12-room house in suburban Arlington so he could increase the size of his residential workshops for selected students. Soon after moving to the Boston area, he completed a different kind of sequence called Slow Dance, which he would later integrate into his teachings. He continued to explore how people understand and interpret photography and began to incorporate techniques of Gestalt psychology into his teachings. In order to help his students experience the meaning of "equivalence," he started requiring them to draw certain subjects as well as photograph them. White began to experience periodic discomfort in his chest in 1966, and his doctor diagnosed his ailment as angina. His symptoms continued throughout the rest of his life, leading him to intensify his study of spiritual matters and meditation. He turned to astrology in an attempt to increase his understanding about life, and his interest in it became so significant that he required all of his current and prospective students to have their horoscopes completed. By this point in his life White's unorthodox teaching methods were well established, and students who went through his workshops were both mystified and enlightened by the experience. One student who later became a Zen monk said "I really wanted to learn to see the way he did, to capture my subjects in a way that didn't render them lifeless and two-dimensional. I didn't realize that Minor was teaching us exactly that: not only to see images, but to feel them, smell them, taste them. He was teaching us how to be photography." White began writing the text for Mirrors, Messages, Manifestations, which was the first monograph of his photographs, in late 1966, and three years later the book was published by Aperture. It included 243 of his photographs and text, including poems, notes from his journal and other writings. Peter Bunnell, who was one of White's early students and then Curator of Photography at the Museum of Modern Art, wrote a lengthy biography of White for the book. During this same time White completed Sequence 1968, a series of landscape images from his recent travels. During the next several years White conceived of and directed four major themed photography exhibitions at MIT, starting with "Light7" in 1968 and followed by "Be-ing without Clothes" in 1970, "Octave of Prayer" in 1972 and "Celebrations" in 1974. Anyone could submit images for the shows, and White spent a great deal of time personally reviewing all of the submissions and selecting the final images. White continued to teach extensively and make his own photographs even though his health was declining. He devoted more and more time to his writing and began a long text he called "Consciousness in Photography and the Creative Audience," in which he referred to his 1965 sequence Slow Dance and advanced the idea that certain states of heightened awareness were necessary to truly read a photograph and understand its meaning. In order to complete this work he applied for and received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1970, and Consciousness in Photography and the Creative Audience became required reading for a new course he taught at MIT called "Creative Audience." in 1971 he traveled to Puerto Rico to explore more of his color photography, and in 1974 and 1975 he journeyed to Peru to teach and to further his own Gurdjieff studies. In 1975 White traveled to England to lecture at the Victoria and Albert Museum and to teach classes at various colleges. He continued on a hectic travel schedule for several weeks, then flew directly to the University of Arizona in Tucson to take part in a symposium there. When he returned to Boston after nearly six weeks of travel, he suffered a heart attack and was hospitalized for several weeks. After this White's focus turned even more inward, and he photographed very little. He spent much of his time with his student Abe Frajndlich, who made a series of situational portraits of White around his home and in his garden. A few months before his death White published a short article in Parabola magazine called "The Diamond Lens of Fable" in which he associated himself with Gilgamesh, Jason and King Arthur, all heroes of old tales about lifelong quests. On June 24, 1976, White died of a second heart attack while working at his home. He bequeathed all of his personal archives and papers, along with a large collection of his photographs, to Princeton University. He left his house to Aperture so they could continue the work he started there. Source: Wikipedia
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