Photographer Gisele Wulfsohn. Picture: Frances Lincoln Publishers
Photographer Gisele Wulfsohn. Picture: Frances Lincoln Publishers

Final frame for top photographer

By VUYO MKIZE Time of article published Dec 30, 2011

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photographer Gisele Wulfsohn, who died at the age of 54 on Tuesday after a long battle with lung cancer, was “determined, passionate and brave”.

That is how her close friends who spoke to The Star yesterday remember her.

Whether it was tackling the injustices of apartheid or capturing how ordinary South Africans were dealing with the growing HIV/Aids epidemic during a time of denialism, Wulfsohn’s attitude remained unchanged.

“She was an incredibly colourful character, very enthusiastic and took everything on with determination,” said Nancy Mamdoo. “She was so passionate and engaged with life.”

Wulfsohn started her career at The Star newspaper in 1979 as a staff photographer.

In 1986 she was made chief photographer of Leadership magazine and in 1987 she joined Afrapix – a group of photographers who documented social issues and the apartheid struggle.

Together with four other photographers, she was commissioned by the Independent Electoral Commission to document the first democratic elections in the country in 1994.

But her most noteworthy work began in 1999 when she started documenting the lives of people living with HIV/Aids.

Melinda Silverman, who had been friends with Wulfsohn since high school, remembered her friend as being extraordinarily generous and kind.

“She had a huge circle of friends. She was quite eccentric and incredibly artistic but was also very serene. She had a very gentle spirit. Even when she was in great pain and discomfort, she would ask how everyone else was,” Silverman said.

Wulfsohn leaves her husband and twin sons. She was due to be buried at the Westpark Jewish Cemetery today at 11am.

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