Beaufort West: Rural South Africa • Mikhael Subotzky • Magnum Photos

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Arts & Culture

Beaufort West: Rural South Africa

Vivid characters and poignant social landscapes are the subject of Mikhael Subotzky's first photobook confronting central issues of contemporary South African society

Mikhael Subotzky

Mikhael Subotzky | Beaufort West Sunday church service, Beaufort West Prison. Beaufort West, South Africa. 2006. © Mikhael Subotzky | Magnum Photos

At the half-way point along South Africa’s great highway – the N1 running from Cape Town to Johannesburg – lies the small town of Beaufort West. With its prison in the middle of town, on an island in the highway, it’s a surreal road-stop that offers everything a traveler might want – food, gas, a place to stay, an hour of sex…

 

Mikhael Subotzky | Beaufort West Offering to the ancestors, KwaMandlankosi. Beaufort West, South Africa. 2006. © Mikhael Subotzky | Magnum Photos
Mikhael Subotzky | Beaufort West Police station. Beaufort West, South Africa. 2008. © Mikhael Subotzky | Magnum Photos
Mikhael Subotzky | Beaufort West A sangoma (traditional healer) pours muti (a traditional medicine) over a patient. Beaufort West, South Africa. 2006. © Mikhael Subotzky | Magnum Photos
Mikhael Subotzky | Beaufort West Jaco is paid by local farmers to kill jackals which are seen as pests. Beaufort West, South Africa. 2006. © Mikhael Subotzky | Magnum Photos

His first photobook, Beaufort West is exquisitely produced on a large portfolio scale. With an introduction by leading South African writer Jonny Steinberg and Subotzky’s own commentary on the photographs, the book is both a document of social evidence and the visual manifesto of the best of the new wave of South African art photographers.

Mikhael Subotzky | Beaufort West Beaufort West Prison is contained in a traffic circle in the centre of the N1 highway which connects Cape Town and Johannesburg. South Africa. 2006. © Mikhael Subotzky | Magnum Photos