Unknown Marabastad Photographer


Band; sextet with instruments, PLP/Angus Gibson collection, © Angus Gibson

This important and rare South African vernacular photographic collection emanates from research for a television series on street photography in the 1990s by filmmaker Angus Gibson. He found a photographic studio in Marabastad, Pretoria, an early township in South Africa, and the connecting point between a railway, a bus, and taxi stations. Gibson made his selection from negatives given to him by the photographer and on his return established that the photographer had passed away.


Man in gown holding sheaf of papers, PLP/Angus Gibson collection, © Angus Gibson

He also established that the entire archive of negatives had been sadly discarded by the photographer’s family and all that remained of this once popular studio were the images that Gibson had printed up. Studios close to the commuter movements in the cities were a common feature in South Africa for much of the 20th century. Today Studio collections are seldom to be found.


Man in gown holding sheaf of papers, PLP/Angus Gibson collection, © Angus Gibson

These photographs are from a rare collection of an excellent studio photographer. The images were featured in The Other Camera book and exhibition (2014), and exhibited at the Center for Humanities Gallery, University of Michigan; Wits Origins Centre, Johannesburg; and Commune 1, Cape Town.

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