The Photography Legacy Project (PLP) is making a critical intervention in photographic archives. The project recognises the instrumental role played by African photographers in developing the global footprint of photography in the world.

About The Photography Legacy Project (PLP)

In recent years, photography, photographers and photographic archives in Africa have received unprecedented global attention by scholars, artists, curators and the general public. This interest reflects an acknowledgement of Africa’s photographic heritage as a unique source for documenting and understanding the continent’s past, present and future. It emerges at a time when African photographers are claiming their place in the history of photography and when African visual heritage is being shared and valued by institutions across the world.

The Photography Legacy Project (PLP) with support from The Goodman Gallery, the David Goldblatt Legacy Trust, the Goldblatt Family and Wits Historical Papers has initiated an important visual heritage project to venerate the significant contribution of major South African and African photographers. It does it in a climate where there is very little or no commitment on the part of African governments to the preservation of photographic heritage, either physically or digitally. Without sustainable commitment to the preservation of photographic heritage either physically or digitally, African photographic collections and archives remain perilously endangered. The PLP’s initiative is primarily to ensure that significant collections of African photography can remain on the continent and made widely accessible for education and research.  The PLP has created a portal of photography with the following objectives:

  • Digitise and store selected photographers’ archives
  • Publish archives on the PLP platform with sufficient metadata and contextual information such as articles and interviews for users to understand individual’s photographic practice and the specifics of projects and photographs
  • Create an operable system enabling comprehensive discoverability of work through diverse categories
  • Enable the curation and display of digital exhibitions by selected curators
  • Encourage the widest and most diverse users
  • Enable educators at all levels to link the archive to teaching activities and develop curriculum related materials
  • Conduct an audit of historical African photographic archives throughout the continent and world and provide active links to archives
  • Contribute to the preservation of physical archives through digitsation and partnerships with institutions
  • Create publications and exhibitions related to the PLP archive
  • Market the PLP through social media platforms, educational platforms and direct engagement with universities and colleges

The PLP encourages you to engage with our digital platform and resources for education, research and curatorial purposes. Please use the site’s features in ‘Explore’ and navigate your way through the legacies of ‘Photographers’ (David Goldblatt, Ernest Cole, Alf Kumalo and Ruth Motau) and their world, as well as connect to African photography throughout the world. See ‘Resources’.

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