Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Pieter Hugo

So, as a graphic designer, I find myself over at ffffound pretty much every day. That's where I first spotted these images.

I found them hard to look at. As an animal lover. As an African. I knew, especially being the writer of this blog, I should look into it. But it was too hard. I have issues about animals being stuck in situations they can do nothing about. I pretended it wasn't there.

Then a friend sent me this link, with these images.

These intrigued me so I looked them up. Turns out they are photographs taken by the same man. Pieter Hugo. I find his work fascinating, he seems to seek out strangeness, and then documents it. His website will tell you lot about his images, the stories behind them and his motives. There is a lot.

For instance, the hyena men (the series is called "The Hyena and Other Men") are a group of men in Nigeria, who are performers. Hugo is fascinated by the juxtaposition of the urbanity of the environment in which these men live and the wildness of the animals with whom they perform. The second set of photographs ("Permanent Error") documents an area in Ghana, where obsolete technology is dumped.

Yes, this is where your old junk gets sent.

Hugo doesn't say all that much in his write-up about his motives but I think this one is pretty clear.

I know I don't post about art very often. I do like pretty pictures. But we can't look at pretty pictures all the time and these definitely called out to me. I think they were worth bringing to your attention. I hope you think so, too.


Ansie said...

These images are really desturbing. But at the same time mesmerizing...
I am with you on putting animals in an unworthy situation - it degrades and humiliates them.
In the second set of photos I get the same feeling about the people. They are in an unworthy and degrading situation. Their life and existance are regarded as worthless enough to turn into a dumping ground.

This is very sad. I haven't read Pieter's website yet, but I will. I think he is very courageous to document these situations in this way. Harsh, but somehow respectful..
Thanks for sharing. This is a great post.

kbd said...

Thanks Ansie, I wasn't sure about including this post. But it is important to be aware of what's happening... and I do feel that way about the Ghanaians, too. It infuriates me that we live in a world where some people can live thoughtlessly, live with the latest and best stuff, and then casually throw it away and other people have to deal with it. It only makes me committed to making sure as little of my things end up in a landfill. Or someone else's landfill.

Leslie said...

His stuff is incredibly arresting. The landscapes look post-apocalyptic to me, with all the color washed out of them and people doing what they can to survive. He has compassion for them too, I think. Somehow the photo don't strike me as exploiting their condition, but documenting it. Despite the strangeness, they have a certain weird beauty.

kbd said...

I definitely feel a beauty to the technology dump pics. The colors, the composition... its a great way to get people to SEE.

BMAT said...

In a rare photograph, Pieter Hugo is photographed in Cape Town by Pogus Caesar. What I find most interesting is the lack of any background information in the photo. An interesting twist, as much of Hugo's images carry a manifold of beautiful detail.