This Must Be The Place



Where is Africa? What does it look like? And its people, what are they like? In This Must Be The Place, Pieter Hugo’s new monograph including highlights from his career to date, we get a glimpse of the confusion and displacement, both of the continent and of photography itself – a fractured, schizophrenic and wounded medium that has unwittingly inherited a problematic and destabilizing past.

Pieter Hugo, in his mid-30s, already has an impressive list of publications to his name. This comes as no surprise, however, considering that he has been documenting his native continent of Africa since his late teens as a self-trained photographer... and journalist. For, besides the high quality and aesthetics of his images, that is what makes Hugo so particularly interesting: the choice of his subjects.

As observed by Aperture magazine: "Hugo moves through the muddy waters of political engagement, documentary responsibility, and the relationship of these to his own aesthetic."  In The Hyena and Other Men, but also in Nollywood and Permanent Error, he suffuses a journalist’s perspective and a voyeur’s theatricality into images of Africa’s people and environments.

The photographs of Pieter Hugo not only represent the complexity of a righteous depiction of post-colonial Africa but also act politically, demanding from the viewer a certain amount of self-awareness. Ultimately, this book is simultaneously clear proof of Hugo’s wide range of photographic talents and a statement of the complexities and contradictions of photography’s and portraiture’s typological constructions.

An overview of Pieter Hugo's work so far is on show at the photomuseum in The Hague until May 20, 2012.