An exhibition revisiting the photographic archive of the Activestills Collective


Caught Up in History

A talk by photographer and curator Paul Weinberg about the engaged camera in South Africa

Fields of Knowledge
  • Artistic legacies
  • Public culture
  • Social Justice

Organizing Institutions



Shiraz Grinbaum, Vered Maimon

Opens to public





4017 Walnut St.
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Slought is pleased to announce Caught Up in History, a talk by photographer and curator Paul Weinberg about the engaged camera in South Africa, on Wednesday, February 20, 2019 from 6-8pm. The turbulent period of repression by the apartheid government in the 1980's was matched with political resistance and cultural activism. The camera was deeply part of this wave. Individual photographers who had been working on their joined forces in what became known as the collective movement of photography, unparalleled in South Africa's history. Their work appeared on numerous fronts – through the mainstream when possible, the alternative press, in exhibitions, posters, and calendars.

Joyce Ozinski, writing for the cultural activist magazine, Staffrider, encapsulated the zeitgeist of the time. To take photographs in that climate she wrote was an act of defiance in itself, "To see what had not been hitherto been seen; to make visible what had been invisible; to find ways of articulating, through the medium of photography, a reality obscured by government propaganda and the mass media – this was the challenge to photographers.....Each image that appeared in Staffrider was a victory over these obstacles."

At the heart of the movement was an organisation called Afrapix, a photographic collective that could be described as a South African version of the Photo League and Magnum all rolled into one. It was the first non-racial collective of photographers and imbued the spirit of the anti -Apartheid movement that swept throughout the country and the world in this decade. Under the broad aegis of documentary photography, Its diversity was not only in its non- racial make-up but in style and approach. The photographers of this time are often referred to as 'struggle photographers'. But the term limits the broader understanding of the photographic movement, its relationship to the country and its history. Known amongst themselves as the 'Taking Sides' generation, Paul Weinberg, a founder member of Afrapix and integrally part of this collective movement will share and unpack his personal experiences of the time, with reflections on his own work and the movement as a whole.

read more

This event has been organized in conjunction with The Image-Event: A Joint Struggle, an exhibition at Slought on display from February 22, 2019 to March 31, 2019 that features the archive of the photographic collective Activestills.

Working in Palestine/Israel since 2005, the collective is comprised of Palestinian, Israeli, and international activist-photographers. Approaching the region between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea as one, the collective works to advocate against the most blatant attack on human rights and freedom within these borders. Learn more

Paul Weinberg is a South African photographer, founder member of Afrapix, co-ordinator of the Ernest Cole Award, and an archivist and curator.

Download Presentation


"The notion of taking sides demands active participation of the photographer in the struggle. The photographer is not merely an observer but part of the process. In the first instance this is about identifying with communities in the struggle. The photographer is challenged to participate in organizations that are answerable and accountable to the non-racial, democratic movement in South Africa."

-- Paul Weinberg, afterword, The Hidden Camera, 1989