2019 marks the 30th year since world-renowned photographer David Goldblatt founded the Market Photo Workshop in 1989. The Photo Workshop has established itself as an important training institution for South African photographers who otherwise have no access to photography. Many of its alumni have changed and transformed the landscape of contemporary South African photography.
Market Photo Workshop has received invaluable contributions from many creative practitioners that have interacted, contributed, funded and worked with this space over the 30 years of its existence, to acknowledge this they have named their thirtieth-anniversary celebration ‘The Homecoming’. The event would see previous student, staff and stakeholders of the Market Photo Workshop coming back to the organization to show the impact that the school has had in their practice of photography.
John Fleetwood, a former student and Head of Market Photo Workshop calls to attention that the school’s initial focus was on social documentary photography, a genre which would provide photographers entry into the media landscape, allowing them to create a viable career for themselves. This was the core of the curriculum, photography as a social and political practice was an important strategy in documenting the socio-political landscape of apartheid South Africa. Since then, the Market Photo Workshop has successfully adapted to the challenges of a new democratic dispensation, and the influences democracy has had on visual arts in South Africa. The Market Photo Workshop now offers formalised short and long courses in photography, educating learners in all technical and practical aspects of the medium.
The Market Photo Workshop holds archives of the work, exhibitions, mentorships and projects that have been produced in the past 30 years, The Homecoming commemorates all those projects in one space to celebrate the growth and shift of the school. The Market Photo Workshop began in the premises of the old Newtown post office in Bree Street and eventually moved to its new current state of art photography facility at Market Square premises by the Mary Fitzgerald Square.
The school public programmes date back to 1992 – ‘Portraits and Dreams’, which saw children from Orange Farm, Soweto and Glenesk recording their impressions of their environment, using polaroid cameras to document their communities, their dreams and fantasies, until now, in 2019, where the public programme, ‘m@rket’ focuses on research about the Yeoville Market. The school has produced more than 50-photography exhibition and has hosted more 130 students per year.
The Homecoming will acknowledge the role played by many of the workshop’s partners who have executed a pivotal role in their existence through funding linkages, collaborations, media and training relationships and stakeholder investments. This includes the important support that the South African Government has provided for infra-structural and operational funding through the Department of Arts and Culture, which has led to the Market Photo Workshop’s success to provide visionary education and training opportunities for a broad constituency of learners and trainees.
The Market Photo Workshop gives thanks to the students, alumni and the participants in programmes who have gone out into the world and impacted positively on perceptions and goals for driving social change. Without them, the intended impact of the mission and vision of the Market Photo Workshop would never be realised. The past and current staff and educators at the Market Photo Workshop are acknowledged for their commitment which ensures that the recognition of the space grows with a comprehensive and relevant curriculum, recruitment of diverse students, and successful collaborations conducted with various partner organisations.
The #Homecoming30 Celebrations will take place from the 10th until the 12th of October at the Market Photo Workshop (138 Lilian Ngoyi St, Newtown, Johannesburg).
Market Photo Workshop
c/o Market Square
138 Lilian Ngoyi St
Entrance at Margaret Macingana Street
The Market Photo Workshop is a division of The Market Theatre Foundation.