Hanging on a wire
In 1999, Rick Rohde, a Research Fellow of the Centre of African Studies at the University of Edinburgh, joined a long-term research project in the village of Paulshoek in Namaqualand, the aim of which was to understand and record the socio-economic and environmental history of the area. Some residents of Paulshoek were invited to contribute to the project through a photographic documentation of the life of the village. One of these photographers was Sophia Klaase, whose striking images of her family and friends became the subject of an exhibition fourteen years later. Klaase’s images stood out for their intense and idiosyncratic representation of life in a materially impoverished community, and for their frank exploration of Klaase’s own relationship to her environment. Her photographs and this book demonstrate the intellectual and aesthetic rewards of true collaboration and sustained investigation, and introduce a new name into the tradition of South African documentary and vernacular photography. Klaase’s work is the cornerstone of this richly layered study of Paulshoek and its environs.
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