The Bang-Bang photographers hit the Art Fair

#96. Remember the Bang-Bang Club. In the late 1980s and early 90s while the people of this country’s townships were drawn into an explosive conflict and the fight against Apartheid intensified to its height, a group of press photographers risked everything to document the struggle. From Shell House to Boipatong, and the bloody war between members of the Inkatha Freedom Party and the ANC, they shot their pictures amid gunfire and armed conflict and they came to be known as the Bang-Bang Club.

Right now there is a Hollywood movie being made of the book The Bang-Bang Club: Snapshots of a Hidden War (to read a chapter, go here) that was written by two surviving members Pulitzer prize-winner Greg Marinovich and now New York Times photographer Joao Silva.  The story is a compelling one of great and fraught friendships, of bravery in the face of enormous dangers, camaraderie, survival and of a shared determination to tell the story of South Africa through their photographs, no matter the cost. And it was steep. Ken Oosterbroek was shot dead in Tokoza (an East Rand township) in 1994 while Kevin Carter Carter committed suicide that year soon after winning a Pulitzer prize for a  photograph that became a great source of controversy.

The movie will start Hollywood A-listers like Ryan Phillipe and Malin Akerman  — who was in The Times office a few days ago to catch up with the character she is playing, extremely talented and supremely gorgeous photo editor Robin Comley.

In an interview with The Times Marinovich said he was excited that their story is headed for Hollywood.

“I have some mixed feelings because you never know how the movie will turn out. But it is exciting to know our story will be told,” he said. There is more from the interview here.

You can watch the actors on site in Thokoza a few days ago being interviewed by Jason von Berg.

I would strongly advise reading the book. And then head to the Joburg Art Fair this Saturday, April 4, where you can meet Marinovich and Silva who will be talking about their experiences at the Newtown-based Rooke Gallery stand between 12pm and 1pm. Their vintage prints will also be on display.

* The Joburg Art Fair starts tomorrow at the Sandton Convention Centre

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