A survey of the history of photography in South Africa reveals, broadly, three important eras, colonisation, repression and Apartheid and the democratic dispensation. It is against this backdrop that South African History Online (SAHO) is showcasing the different genres of photography that has been practised over the decades in the country, from the earliest analogue visual representation to the current digital images.  

From the earliest ethnographic/anthropological images to documentary photography, landscape, portraiture and beyond this feature looks at the personal and political. This archive will serve as an invaluable source for further research into photography and academia — for scholars interested in the visual representation of South Africa’s past and current lens-based history.

The feature acknowledges and celebrates all photographers, academics, scholars, commentators, etc. who have contributed and continue to add to the rich South African photography tapestry.

With time, SAHO will expand this feature to include the history of photography on the African continent. 

Collections in the Archives