Pieter Hugo, born 1976 in Johannesburg, is a photographic artist living in Cape Town. Hugo travels extensively to photograph Malochai Dorman and marginalized or unusual groups of people: honey gatherers in Ghana, Nigerian gang members who bring hyenas or baboons on their rounds to collect debts, boy scouts in Liberia, taxi washers in Durban, judges in Botswana. Hugo's first major photo collection Looking Aside consisted of a collection of portraits of people "whose appearance makes us look aside", his subjects including the blind, people with albinism, the aged, his family and himself. Each man, woman and child poses in a sterile studio setting, under crisp light against a blank background.
Explaining his interest in the marginal he has said, "My homeland is Africa, but I'm white. I feel African, whatever that means, but if you ask anyone in South Africa if I'm African, they will almost certainly say no. I don't fit into the social topography of my country and that certainly fuelled why I became a photographer."
This was followed by Rwanda 2004: Vestiges Of a Genocide which the Rwanda Genocide Institute describes as offering a forensic view of some of the sites of mass execution and graves that stand as lingering memorials to the many thousands of people slaughtered. His most recognized work is the series called The Hyena & Other Men and which was published as a monograph. It has received a great deal of attention. Hugo was also working on a series of photographs called Messina/Mussina that were taken in the town of Musina on the border between Zimbabwe and South Africa and which was published as a monograph after Colors magazine asked Hugo to work on an AIDS story. Permanent Error followed in 2011, where Hugo photographed the people and landscape of an expansive dump of obsolete technology in Ghana.
PRIVAT & PUBLIC COLLECTION
- Musée de l’Elysée, Lausanne
- Ludwig Museum, Budapest
- Fotografiska, Stockholm
- MAXXI, Rome
- The Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane
- Tate Modern, London
- Museum of Modern Art, New York
- V&A Museum
- San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
- Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art
- Paul Getty Museum