The Durban Centre for Photography

Durbanity Project Image source

The Durban Centre for Photography (DCP) was originally founded by Peter McKenzie in the early-nineties, and later folded. It was revived in (year?) by the KwaZulu-Natal Society of Arts and has since been funded the institution.

McKenzie is a South African photographer who has worked with many artists and has exhibited internationally in countries such as Sweden and recently at the International Center for Photography in New York for the Rise and Fall of Apartheid exhibition which ran from Sep 2012 to Jan 2013. He is the chief photographer for Panapress, the Pan African press agency, in the SADC region. He is also member of the Market Photo Workshop advisory council and serves on the board of the Market Theatre Foundation. He is currently the director of the DCP.[1]

The DCP offers photography courses which are designed to broaden conceptual approaches to the practice of photography in South Africa. It was founded to teach and mentor young photographers to engage and communicate with new sets of realities that come with contemporary ideas in our societies, cultures and photographic practice.  In theory, the DCP intends to engage a new aesthetic that reflects “South Africa’s transitional and developmental dispensation with a visual dialogue that informs practices”.[2]

The facility hosts workshops, student photography projects and exhibitions both locally and internationally. It serves as a space for collective learning, where professional photographers teach and mentor future photographers from their own work as they are informed by their own art practice.[3]

The DCP, has seen the realisation of a large number of exhibitions as well as training and workshop opportunities. One workshop, which runs over two months and includes a month long practical component, results in the formation of a collective of photographers embarking on a photo-based project. One such project was titled Ngale: Seeing Beyond, and saw the collaboration of 12 photographers in an exploration of Durban and the aesthetic possibilities of seeing beyond the ordinary and unobserved. The DCP’s objectives with this project was to engage the relationship between art and urbanity with a level of municipal influence, as this project was also realised with funding from eThekwini Parks, Recreation and Culture. It looks to “visualise a hidden Durban” through Ngale, whilst engaging and exploring youth development initiatives, cultural and religious practices and community outreach programmes, among other social issues and spaces.[4]

The exhibition ran from the 30th March 2016 - 17th of April at Main, Mezzanine and Park Galleries.[5]

Another workshop hosted by the DCP was titled Middle Grey which ran in July 2014. Which was a five-day long workshop which was a response to a photographic exhibition at the Durban Art Gallery, Photographs in Black and White: Margaret Bourke-White and the Dawn of Apartheid in South Africa. The workshop used Margaret Bourke-White’s photographs as a case study for looking, seeing and engaging one’s subjectivity whilst exploring social and cultural identity and expression through image and text.[6]

Regarding Otherwise. Image source

Durbanity (2013) which has seen 10 photographers embark on an ongoing initiative of the eThekwini Municipal Region entails photographs of the city in an attempt to understand urbanization patterns and cultures that emerge from these phenomena.[7]

Regarding Otherwhere  WORKSHOP  that ran in July 2014 was a five-day workshop that ran concurrently with the group exhibition titled Interface (2014), a collaboration of DCP’s urbanity project and DALA’s city walk initiative facilitated by Peter Mckenzie, Paulo Menezes, Shirin Motala and Osmosis Liza. This project was a continuity of the International Union of Architects World Congress (UIA) 2014 conference theme of “Otherwhere”.[8]

End Notes

[1] “Peter Mckenzie,”, last modified 2017.

[2] “The KZNSA Durban Center for Photography (DCP),”, last modified 2017.

[3] “Peter Mckenzie”

[4] “About DCP”

[5] “Ngale: Seeing Beyond,”, last modified 2017.

[6] “DCP Workshops”

[7] “DCP Projects”

[8] “DCP Workshops”.

• About DCP” URL: Date Accessed: 5 March 2017
• “DCP Workshops” URL: Date Accessed: 5 March 2017
• “DCP Projects” URL: Date Accessed: 5 March 2017
• “The KZNSA Durban Center for Photography (DCP),”, last modified 2017. URL:
• “Ngale: Seeing Beyond,”, last modified 2017. URL:
• “Peter Mckenzie,”, last modified 2017 URL:

Last updated : 27-Mar-2017

This article was produced for South African History Online on 27-Mar-2017