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TRAVELLING LIGHT (article first published : 2004-07-30)

The NSA Gallery will host a photographic exhibition and book launch by Paul Weinberg. The exhibition will be opened by Prof. Michael Chapman on August 3 at 18h00.

As one of South Africa’s leading and best-known photographers, Paul Weinberg needs no introduction. His latest offering, Travelling Light, comes in the form of a book and exhibition that reflect 25 years of Weinberg’s photographic journey, from its inception in the 1970s through to the present day.

This photographic journey is presented in the NSA’s Main Gallery as a lyrical narrative that begins in the streets of Jo’burg in the late 1970s and ends in the rural and desert landscapes of the new millennium. It is not a political A to Z or a documentary of South Africa’s political past, but an observation of the lives of ordinary people and their daily survival choices as they have struggled and overcome the limiting circumstances of their lives – or simply reflected the tenor of their times. Most of the images are unpublished because they were taken in a time when there was no space for the ordinary. They “fell through the cracks” because they were often considered too “off beat” to make it.

In his introduction, Weinberg reflects on his photographic journey: “When I began taking photographs it was in the context of a land divided. I now live in a country ostensibly united. Politically at least, we have come a full circle. These photographs capture glimpses of life between the cracks before, after and while the political wheel was turning. They are about how people try to survive in so many different and extraordinary ways and the survival choices they make under often extreme conditions of hardship … how they reflected themselves and how I absorbed their reflections, how they danced with reality, made light in the dark spaces, embraced each other at great risk.

“These images are also about how I as a photographer have interacted with these situations, the unconscious choices that I made in particular moments and the resulting stories that emerged through my camera lens.”

The key in Weinberg’s narrative is the personal engagement that he brings to his photographs. This is a collection of moments that he has cherished both photographically and emotionally. “The images presented here have taken me on a long ride from city to the bush and all that lies between, metaphorically and literally. Each image is a little caught moment, a vivid reminder of my own inner journey and my privileged interface with the reality of other people’s lives.”

The book Travelling Light is published by University of KwaZulu-Natal Press and comprises 90 images, complemented by private observations from Weinberg’s diaries which he kept throughout these years. The exhibition is an edited version of the book, comprising 45 framed 12x16 inch images with an introduction and captions.

Travelling Light runs from August 3 to 22. More information from Storm Janse van Rensburg (Curator) on 031 202 3686, fax 031 201 8051, e-mail: curator@nsagallery.co.za or visit www.nsagallery.co.za




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