The Market Photo Workshop

Old Newtown Post Office Image source

The Market Photo workshop is a division of the Market Theatre Foundation.

Founded by renowned documentary photographer and artist David Goldblatt in 1989, it was originally created as a space to provide further education in visual literacy and photographic practice to disadvantaged students during the apartheid era. It has since become an institution that offers photography training courses and also functions as a space for multiple photographic projects that stimulate interactions and responses to a complex set of backgrounds in culture and identity within a contemporary understanding of art and photography as well as in the social context of South Africa.

The Market Photo Workshop began operating in the old Newtown Post Office on Bree street. It has since moved to a location opposite the Bus Factory on President street which is also located within the vibrant and historically artistic context of Newtown.

Social documentary was the main focus at first as it could provide the students with an entry into the media and photojournalistic practice as when it was founded, social and political angles were at the core of documenting the South African landscape. The institution has since been able to adapt to the shifts in social-politics and has thus been able to translate this into the courses and has spearheaded many projects that reflect on the changes and influences that the south african democracy has brought along with it.

It has played a pivotal role in the training of photographers, ensuring a growth in photographic literacy not only within Johannesburg but as well as in other communities and disadvantaged areas of our society as alumni come from different areas of the country. It is a contemporary art space that keeps the community informed on a broad range of topics, trends, debates and cultures through photographic engagement and visual articulation.

The market photo workshop runs a number of projects including the Tierney Fellowship, which is made possible through a partnership with the Tierney Family Foundation. This project was designed to create opportunities for photographers and to cultivate and develop the medium by offering mentorships, and funding for the recipients to produce a body of work.

Other such mentorships offered by the institution are aimed at emerging photographers in an effort to transfer skills, experience and advice that can help photographers advance to more professional and advanced stages in photography through their work.

The Institution has catapulted many great photographers into the world of art and photography such as Zanele Muholi, Jodi Bieber, Sabelo Mlangeni, and many others. 

• The Market Photo Workshop. Accessed: 1 Feb 2017. URL:
• Image Source: Old Newtown Post Office URL:

Last updated : 06-Mar-2017

This article was produced by South African History Online on 07-Feb-2017

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