Pieter Hugo: ‘Kin’ a Personal Look at South Africa

Article: Pieter Hugo: ‘Kin’ a Personal Look at South Africa


"South African photographer Pieter Hugo’s newest book, unlike his others, is intensely personal. “Kin” is about family and about country and Hugo’s relationship with both.

Photographed over the last eight years, Hugo calls this collection of color portraits, still lifes, cityscapes, and landscapes “an engagement with the failure of the South African colonial experiment and my sense of being colonial driftwood.” He says, “South Africa is such a fractured, schizophrenic, wounded and problematic place…how do you raise a family in such a conflicted society? Before getting married and having children, these questions did not trouble me, now they are more confusing.”

Searching for answers, he begins by photographing what he considers “home” as both an intimate and public place. Hugo does not shrink from showing intimate pictures of his immediate family alongside those of his “kin” which include the homeless, the aimless, the elderly, a racially mixed couple, and others he felt were part of the overall narrative. Other telling photographs include a still life of a dead or dying houseplant and one entitled “Green Point Commons,” which shows a man lying near a huge tree that’s been bent over by the wind — it looks like it’s crying..." more at chelsea now

Pieter Hugo_Mohammed Rabiu with Jamis, Asaba, Nigeria (2007) Taylor Collection Denver