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Magnum Photographers
From the Archive
June 26, 2013
by Ian Berry
In the post-war period the South African government gradually developed a policy that was meant to retain forever the rights and privileges of a white minority: apartheid. Racial prejudices and tensions create difficulties in many societies, but in South Africa segregation was institutionalized and regulated. The results were tragic and disturbing. The camera of Ian Berry has uniquely recorded this aspect of the South African experience: the duty to 'live apart' while occupying the same space. He first set out for South Africa as a boy of seventeen and thus began a career of recording ordinary lives in extraordinary circumstances. Present at the Sharpeville shootings in 1960, Berry has returned to South Africa many times in the course of the succeeding decades and captured many of its most significant moments, including the 1994 election and its remarkable aftermath. As his photographs show, the wounds of over forty years of apartheid cannot be quickly or easily forgotten.