PHOTOGRAPHY: Exhibit comes to an end.



By Ismail Lagardien

This is an old pic, taken two years ago by Gaia Manco. I am placing it online for two reasons; because the exhibit – Between States of Emergency which ‘honours photographers who risked their lives and freedom to expose the brutality of apartheid in the late 1980s’, has come to an end after traveling the country for two years. I am honoured that some of my work was part of this exhibition by the Nelson Mandela Foundation. The other reasons is, well, not for public discussion, suffice to say that nothing can take away or detract from the sacrifices that we made during those desperately dark days.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu generously described our work in the following screen grab from the exhibit’s brochure.

When the exhibition came to Port Elizabeth, I gave a talk at its official opening. Follow THIS LINK for an edited version of my talk.


The Cruelty of Deliberate Forgetting

I gave a talk at the opening of a photo exhibition on 21 April 2017.

The 1980s — represented in the exhibition Between States of Emergency: Photographers in Action 1985-1990 — were a time when the country was terribly divided. The majority of the population looked at the state with fear and anxiety — our faces pinned to the ground by a military jackboot. These photographs remind us of those desperate times. The economy had all but collapsed. The government was in disarray. The ruling elite was fractured.

There were protests around the country, and the military and police had invaded the townships and our homes. There is cold comfort in the observation that “those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it”.

So, yes, more than 30 years ago I photographed death and dying during that dark and brutal period of successive states of emergency between 1985 and 1990. I should not be disingenuous and add hastily that I was an average reporter and a rubbish photographer. (Read further)


Ethical lapses cannot be allowed to become normalised

By Ismail Lagardien

There can be no justice in revenge, malice or in the willful manipulation of legal systems. Ethical lapses cannot be allowed to become normalised, especially not in the education system, on the basis that bodies of knowledge are the preserve of one group and that access to these bodies of knowledge has to be policed (Read Further)

What the Image Says: Joy and Laughter


By Ismail Lagardien

This picture appeared on page 3 of the Voices and Careers section of today’s City Press (5 March 2017). The picture is of the looting that was part of the xenophobic violence against non-South African businesses in places around the country.

Reading the Image. The picture is of two people, laughing with joy for the booty they looted, apparently from a local shop. The picture shows no anger, no rage and no violence. It shows only what seems like joy and laughter. It demonstrates, in the least, the value of a caption.


Images and Text: Shooting from the Hip

A set of pictures I made (digitally reproduced from old negatives), at a police and military roadblock during the first national state of emergency in South Africa in 1986. I spent much of the previous night with two friends, James Phillips and Andrew Beattie.

Shooting from the Hip from i lagardien on Vimeo.