Dust off favourite photos for special exhibition

By Time of article published Jan 29, 2015

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Francesca Villette

HAVING your black and white photograph taken by Movie Snaps Studio in the city streets used to be a favourite pastime.

Thousands of pictures of women in shift dresses donning strings of pearls and sailors boasting their crisp white uniforms were taken by photographers from the early 1940s to the late 70s.

The Movie Snaps Studio was based in the now popular Texies fish and chips eatery building on the edge of the Grand Parade.

The experience is now only a fond memory, and the relics are gathering dust in the bottom of drawers.

But there is a new motivation to dust off those classic black and whites.

The Centre for Curating the Archive at the University of Cape Town will present the Movie Snaps, Cape Town Remembers Differently exhibition at the weekend.

Conceptualised by senior archive curator Siona O’Connell, the exhibition will feature the photographs and installations taken during a time when freedom had to be fought for.

“Once they crossed the photographer’s chalk line, they were convinced to take a ticket in the hope that they would purchase the image a few days later from the kiosk,” said O’Connell.

O’Connell took to social media to begin her search to find the forgotten photographs 18 months ago. Since then, she has received hundreds of photographs.

O’Connell said it was the perfect time to put the photographs on display.

“These pictures illustrate moments of ordinary living in extraordinary times. They offer a counterpoint to the now familiar narrative of apartheid’s series of carefully composed images of burning tyres, mass protests and violence, and urge a consideration of the afterlives of apartheid.”

The exhibition will take place on Saturday at the District Six Homecoming Centre on Buitenkant Street.

“We are 21 years into our democracy and racism is rife. There are many angry people and their rage is escalating,” said O’Connell.

“Showcasing these pictures, I hope, will begin the difficult discussion we need to have during life after oppression.”

People who have photographs they would to like share can contact O’Connell at 021 4807153 or send an e-mail to [email protected]

[email protected]

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