You get all sorts of photographers – people who take photos for weddings, for fashion shoots, of interiors, for art itself – and the reasons for taking photographs are just as varied. For some the need to not only capture what’s happening in society, but to make a lasting impression on viewers, and perhaps even bring about real change, is what drives them to take photographs. This is the case with Cedric Nunn, photographer, political activist, and recipient of a 2016 eThekwini Living Legends award.
Nunn spent his formative years in KwaZulu-Natal, before moving to Johannesburg where he co-founded Afrapix, a photographic collective active during apartheid. Afrapix held workshops, hosted exhibitions and trained students in their particular school of photography that blurred the lines between hard news and pure documentary, creating a space for social commentary and interpretation. Afrapix played a crucial role in portraying the real stories of real people effected by apartheid, with their images being used both locally and abroad. Completely self-funded the collective was made up of both professional and amateur photographers, and over the course of nearly a decade captured some startling images of our country, helping to open up discussions around what was happening during a very difficult time in South African history.
Cedric Nunn is still working in the space of documentary photography, with his most recent exhibition exploring the heated issue of land distribution in South Africa. Unsettled, which exhibited earlier this year in Germany, talks to the resistance of the Xhosa people to the unauthorised appropriation of their land by European settlers and colonial powers.