People Apart: 1950s Cape Town Revisited


People Apart: 1950s Cape Town Revisited


28 × 23 cm | 9 × 11 in
100 ills | 192 pages

Author: Darren Newbury
Contributors: Vivian Bickford-Smith, Sean Field, Amanda Hopkinson
Photographer: Bryan Heseltine

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People Apart: 1950s Cape Town Revisited offers a rich and fascinating insight into South Africa at the very beginning of the apartheid era through Bryan Heseltine's previously unpublished photography of the early 1950s.

Heseltine’s work is replete with historical, social and political implications, yet, at the same time, these images transcend the purely documentary to earn a place in the realm of art. The photographs evidence a respect for the subjects and their urban environment that runs counter to the ideology of apartheid. Indeed, Heseltine’s sensitive approach to his subjects gave visual expression to the emerging anti-apartheid sentiments of the period, a fact highlighted in the later 1950s when the images were appropriated by the emerging international anti-apartheid movement.

Darren Newbury, professor of photography at Birmingham City University, contextualises Heseltine’s photography through extensive biographical and sociohistorical research, and situates this body of work within its contemporary context, as well as asking what Heseltine’s images offer today, in the post-apartheid era. The book includes a foreword by Amanda Hopkinson and contributions by Vivian Bickford-Smith and Sean Field, which explore questions such as the relationship of the collection to memory and identity, and the place of photography in the documentation and ‘making’ of history.