Mobile School of Photography Report
by Thobeka Bhengu
Photos by Thobeka Bhengu and Zanele Muholi
In November, a new project, the Mobile School of Photography was born to parents Zanele Muholi and Photo XP, with the aim of training young black female photographers nationally and internationally. As part of the first SA leg of the project in Durban, training sessions kicked off with two groups from the Thamela and Duduzani Primary School.
Studio visits were planned for the 19th December 2018. The day started with a brief session with Sir Muholi requesting for detailed introductions, while speaking on the importance of photography and the politics of South African beaches. Muholi highlighted this particular opportunity for participants to be part of the Photo XP Mobile School of Photography.
images by Photo XP participants
The scheduled studio visits were at Sthenjwa Luthuli’s Visual Art Studio and Wonder Buhle Mbambo’s studio. The first visit was Sthenjwa’s studio, where Sthenjwa, Lindokuhle Ngcobo, and Lindani Nyandeni shared their experiences, backgrounds and presented their work. Then Wonder Buhle presented his work and experiences to the participants. Participants had a chance to ask questions to the artists after their presentations. This is to ensure that participants get to engage with the work and the artist.
What was common amongst these brilliant artists were their underprivileged backgrounds, the importance of doing what you love while telling different stories and speaking through their individual artistic works. The questions asked by participants were in line with the 5 W’S (Who? What? Where? Why? When?) and one H (How?). Muholi also looked at the senses that are at play when making visual arts, so that the students use those kinds of questions to ascertain as much information as possible on the artist and their work.
During the second studio visit participants had enough confidence to ask questions boldly and get all necessary information. The question that impressed us all was from Nokwanda, asking why Wonder painted men only. The audience was clearly impressed by the question and Wonder laughed before answering that he has painted women before and will continue to do so. These studio’ visits were not only inspirational but they were the first step to introducing participants to living, breathing artists who are changing the face of visual arts, accessing spaces that were previously inaccessible and producing content from black artists for young black youth to look up to.
About the Mobile School of Photography:
The Mobile School of Photography is a recent project (founded in November 2018) under the Photo Experience project that was founded by award-winning internationally acclaimed photographer, Zanele Muholi in 2004 with the aim of training young black female photographers nationally and internationally.