Breathing Spaces

Environmental Portraits of South Durban

By Marijke du Toit

Contributions by: Jenny Gordon

This book of environmental portraits, composed of photographs taken in the first decade of the twenty-first century-a few years after South Africa's transition to a constitutional democracy-explores how photographic images can move us, can unlock personal and shared memories, can prompt public debate, can unsettle us and challenge us to think about alternative environmental futures. The included photographs explore the relationship between people and three neighbourhoods located south of Durban harbor: Wentworth, Merebank, and Lamontville. Durban's densely populated southern basin is well known as a flashpoint of pollution perpetrated by South African industries and transnational petrochemical corporations. It is also known for the conflict over plans for further, dirty economic growth. Breathing Spaces presents portraits of people and living spaces taken by social documentary photographer Jenny Gordon. These are interleaved with reproductions of images from family albums, as well as extracts from Marijke du Toit's conversations with the people portrayed, their friends, family and neighbors. A selection of photographs taken by local residents who participated in photographic workshops and exhibitions are also included. As a composite portrait, this book presents long histories of personal, communal and familial places in South Durban. It is about the struggle to take personal breath against social and environmental injustice. [Subject: Photography, Social History, Environmental Studies, African Studies]

Publication Date: 10/21/2016
Format: Paper
ISBN: 9781869142797