Legacy Gallery‘s launch exhibition, Reflections and Refractions is a mini review of photography. It is a look back at my own career, and my professional involvement with photography which started in 1997 when I became the curator at AREA Gallery in Cape Town. AREA was South Africa’s first commercial gallery to specialize in lens-based work. In that same year Lance Slabber introduced me to the work of Bobby Bobson. The linked article shares light on this extraordinary studio photographer’s live and work. The Bobson Studio Portraits as featured in this exhibition is courtesy of Studio d’Arte Raffaelli in Trento, Italy. I remember phoning Obie Oberholzer in 1998, and inviting him to participate in a group exhibition at AREA. He declined and suggested I consider his students’ work – which I did. I opened the Photographers Gallery ZA in Kloof Street, Cape Town in September 2001. It was a bold move, because although the medium had finally gained some traction, local collectors were still skeptical and slow to add photography to their collections. The gallery’s client base was largely international and its roster included exhibitions by a wide range of photographers including, Grada Djeri, Guy Tillim and Jurgen Schadeberg (all included in this exhibition).

By 2004 the business had outgrown its Kloof Street site which did not have much office space. I relocated to Shortmarket Street in the the city centre where I was based for a decade. In 2005 I hosted Muzi Kuzwayo’s solo exhibition, If these walls could talk, and shortly after that, in 2006 I met the inimitable being – Lindeka Qampi. In 2007 I started working with Nomusa Makhubu – ten years later I co-wrote and published the book, Intertwined – A selection of photographs by Nomusa Makhubu 2005 – 2017. The opportunity to finally work with Obie Oberholzer came in 2009. The gallery hosted Jan Smith’s exhibition, Nuclear Disaster Stories in 2011 just a few months after Smith’s return from Fukushima, Japan. Nic Bothma’s solo exhibitions, Off the Wire and A Statesman at Work were hosted in 2014 by which time I had moved back in Kloof Street. I have known Bettie Coetzee Lambrecht since the start of my career when she was an arts writer. She has since established a successful photography practice and I am pleased to have her work included in this exhibition.

The exhibition include examples of both analogue and digital photography, C-type prints, black and white handprints, digitally produced images print on canvas, woven photographs and some which are Diasec mounted.

Peter Becker, Jan Smith & Heidi Erdmann in the gallery.