Guy Tillim is a great figure of the contemporary South-African photographic scene. He began as a young reporter in the 1980’s, when he became aware of photography as a way to fight against the racial gap created by the Apartheid in his country: “the camera is the ideal tool to transcend those borders, to see what happened in my own country”.
For years, Tillim photographed documentary projects of visual and historical strength to create testimonies to the social conflict and inequalities prevailing in South Africa. In those pictures, blunt and dark colours appear suddenly from a damp grey background, in an imitative harmony with the harshness of its subjects.
His work has been widely published in press and in numerous books, and exhibited in prestigious festivals and collective exhibitions throughout Europe; for example, Africa Remix in 2004, PHotoEspaña in 2005 and Dokumenta XII in 2007.
Tillim has been photographing the landscape in French Polynesia. He was drawn to this landscape that has been continuously sketched - and later photographed - since Captain James Cook's voyages in the late 18th century, perhaps because it almost eludes convincing representation. In reading the accounts of the artists who accompanied Cook, Tillim was interested to note that their debates on-board ship around the subject of the representation of landscape are very similar to those we have today: how much do you 'give' a scene and how much do you let it speak for itself?
In this regard, he explains his own difficulties in finding a way through this binary because of our strongly conditioned...
These photographs are not collapsed histories of post-colonial African states or a meditation on aspects of late-modernist-era colonial structures, but a walk through avenues of dreams. Patrice Lumumba's dream, his nationalism, is discernible in the structures, if one reads certain clues, as is the death of his dream, in these de facto monuments. How strange that modernism, which eschewed monument and past for nature and future, should carry such memory so well.
With only 300 miles of paved roads, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (a country roughly the size of Western Europe) is dependent on its aircraft, regardless of the planes' safety records or sturdiness. A charter outfit called Business Aviation has become crucial to the delicate economy. Herewith, some images of the D.R.C.'s fearless fliers and their aircraft.
Jo'burg: an intimate nickname for a South African metropolis. It is not then Johannesburg that is offered to look at here, but the personal vision that Guy Tillim has of it. He drags us inside districts, inside the buildings of blighted areas of the capital of the richest province of South Africa.
Leopold and Mobutu, Democratic Republic of Congo (2003)
done in 2003, this story is talking about a moving Africa. the title is a nod to the past of Zaire, but everything in these pictures shows the current hupeaval of a world that is searching for itself.
Zaire, former Belgian Congo...Belgian domination under Leopold II, then the authoritarian power of Mobutu Sese Seko...and then Leopoldville that became Kinshasa.
But from Leopold to Mobutu, Africa seems only to remember the idea of unstability.
Guy Tillim's earlier photographs documented war-torn Africa and the people whose lives have been shaped by years of conflict and hardship. In this book he focuses on the structures that dot the urban landscape of these troubled countries. The eighty images in this book from Angola, Mozambique, Madagascar, and the Democratic Republic of Congo reveal modern buildings constructed with illusions of prosperity and peace and then left to decay. This collection reflects the intuitive brilliance that is Guy Tillim's hallmark, tells Africa's story of failure and atrophy, and points to the intersection of present-day Africa with its colonial past in countries that were forsaken in the name of progress and the perpetual quest for power. Text by: Robert Gardner et Guy Tillim Publisher: Prestel Publishing (2008) 128 pages Size: 34 x 24 cm ISBN :3791340662
Cette serie de photographies de Johannesburg se propose de suivre les destins des habitants de cette ville construite sur les fondements de l'apartheid. Publisher: Filigranes éditions / Ste Publishers (2005) 254 pages Size: 13x17,5 cm ISBN :2-35046-014-2
Leopold and Mobutu
Ce livre pose un regard sur les événements passés en République Démocratique du Congo entre le roi des Belges Léopold II et le dictateur Mobutu. Publisher: Filigranes Éditions (2004) 56 pages Size: 23x32 cm ISBN :2-914381-91-3
2006 - Robert Gardner Fellowship in Photography awarded by the Peabody Museum, Harvard University
2005 - Leica-Oscar Barnack Award (for the Jo'burg series)
2004 - DaimlerChrysler Award for Photography, South Africa
2003 - Higashikawa Overseas Photographer Award, Japan
2002 - Prix SCAM (Société Civile des Auteurs Multimedia) Roger Pic, France (for Kuito, Angola)
1999 - Mondi Award for photojournalism, South Africa (report on the Himba people of Northern Namibia)
1998 - Mondi Award for photojournalism, South Africa (Congo River: journey from Kisangani to Kinshasa)
Born in 1962 in South Africa, Guy Tillim tries to live his photography without compromise.His colored story on the apartheid left out in Johannesburg has been the subject of a book published by éditions Filigranes. In 1985, he joined a militant collective photographers group against aparteid. This exhibition, of approximately fourty photos, just been shown at the Henri Cartier Bresson Fondation
Jo'burg (2004) Birthplace of Guy Tillim, Johannesburg has been radicaly changed after the end of apparteid, with a controversal urban transformation. Tillim was interested in the people forgotten of this metamorphosis : inhabitants prisoners of the unhealthy towers, awaiting reconstruction, that he had observed in their daily lives. Tillim photographed families, children, teenagers lonely excluded who lived in those decomposated apartments, squatted, or destroyed by the violence palpable of expulsions – and the town, ghostlike, from the top of these towers.
Patrice Lumumba Avenue (2008)...