Beneath the Surface - talk by Steve Bloom
11 June 2012
Venue: Scott Room, (The Guardian)
Address: Guardian News & Media, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London, N1 9GU
Disabled Access: This event has wheelchair access
Price: SOLD OUT
Steve Bloom will be delivering a lecture discussing his 1970s anti-apartheid work and the political situation in South Africa at the time.
In support of his major exhibition Beneath the Surface, being hosted at the Guardian Gallery (1 to 30 June), Steve Bloom will speak in depth about his experiences in apartheid South Africa and how this body of work shaped his photographic career. The talk will commence with a short introduction from Peter Hain, MP (subject to parliamentary business). A representative from the Steve Biko Foundation will also be on hand to help paint a vivid picture of life for "non-Europeans" under the apartheid regime during the period Bloom was photographing, and in order to commemorate this year's 35th anniversary of Biko's death.
Bloom's images of apartheid-era South Africa reveal the alienation of a country on the brink of change—placing Bloom among a select few photographers in possession of the combined boldness and sensitivity of vision necessary to effectively capture the mood and charged racial climate of the time
Bloom is best known for his award-winning wildlife photography. This not-to-be-missed event is a rare opportunity to hear Bloom speak about the brilliant body of lesser known images that led to his exile from the country of his birth. (See BJP 1977 cover, right)
In September 1977 (in the same month that Steve Biko was murdered by security police in South Africa), Steve Bloom travelled to London where, soon after, the International Defence and Aid Fund for South Africa published and exhibited these photographs internationally. He was consequently exiled from South Africa and would not return for another thirteen years. This year marks the 35th anniversary of Steve Biko’s death and likewise of Bloom's images, not seen for decades, which provide a timely reminder of this troubled but important period in South Africa’s history.
The event is brought to you in partership with the Steve Biko Foundation.
Entry to the event includes:
- The lecture
- Drinks reception
- Printed exhibition publication
Beneath The Surface
1 to 30 June
Steve Bloom is a writer and a photographic artist who specialises in evocative images of the living world. Born in South Africa in 1953, he first used the camera to document life in South Africa during the apartheid years. He moved to England in 1977 and co-founded one of London’s leading photographic special effects companies. With the use of pioneering digital techniques, he quickly built up a world-wide client base and worked on many prestigious campaigns, including the official posters for the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games.
In the early nineties, during a safari holiday, he began photographing animals, and within a short time he had swapped his established city career for the precarious life of an international travelling photographer. Steve Bloom’s concern for the environment is strongly evident in his wildlife images. He strives to capture the animal’s spirit, and blur the lines separating different species. His photographs of people reveal a compassionate understanding of his subjects, evident in his books Living Africa and Trading Places: The Merchants of Nairobi.
He has won a number of international awards for his work, including The Power of Photography Award, The Golden Eye of Russia, and Lucie Awards. Numerous magazine publishers such as Life, Time, Terre Sauvage, National Geographic, Geo, Airone, and Geographic, as well as many photographic publications, have featured his pictures. His own books have been published internationally in over seventy editions. His work has been featured in countless exhibitions, including his internationally-exhibited Spirit of the Wild series, which was presented in large outdoor exhibitions in city centres throughout Europe; in Copenhagen, more than 1.4 million visitors were officially counted during the five-month run.
Steve Bloom is an accomplished speaker, and has lectured at venues such as the Royal Geographical Society and the Natural History Museum.
A walk down Kitengela Road, Nairobi: by Steve Bloom. Is this the widest continuous panoramic image ever?
BBC Interview with Steve Bloom about Trading Places
Stephen Biko (18 Dec 1946 – 12 Sep 1977) was an anti-apartheid activist in South Africa in the 1960s and 1970s, arguably the most dynamic political leader of his time. A student leader, he founded the Black Consciousness Movement, which would empower and mobilise much of the urban black population into a state of self-awareness and defiant protest. He was constantly under police surveillance, and was eventually arrested and banned, resulting in his murder in police detention in 1977.
He has been called a martyr of the anti-apartheid movement. While living, his writings and activism attempted to empower black people, and he was famous for his slogan "black is beautiful", which he described as meaning: "man, you are okay as you are, begin to look upon yourself as a human being".
The ANC has celebrated Biko in the pantheon of struggle heroes, going so far as to use his image for campaign posters in South Africa's first non-racial elections in 1994. The voice of Biko still lives today through the Steve Biko Foundation.
The Steve Biko Foundation is a community development organisation inspired by the legacy of Bantu Stephen Biko. An examination of the leading South African institutions that have contributed to shaping national discourse highlights the void that exists in promoting the intangible aspects of development: identity, culture and values, the issues that speak to the soul of a nation. Since its inception, the Steve Biko Foundation has sought to fill this gap; and in the coming decade, will intensify its efforts to strengthen democracy by championing dialogue, scholarship and programmes on the relationship between identity, agency, citizenship and social action.
Vision & Mission
To be the premier independent promoter of the values that Steve Biko lived and died for: restoring people to their true humanity. Further goals include, to:
- Create spaces for critical analysis and engagement with vital socio-economic and political issues in order to strengthen democracy
- Foster the intangible but essential community building blocks: history, identity, culture and values, as the foundation of leadership and agency at the level of the individual and the community
- Develop leadership at every level to enhance civic participation in the political, economic and cultural life of society
- Nurture and affirm fundamental human values
BOOKS BY STEVE BLOOM:
To see more of Bloom's books visit www.stevebloombooks.com
Man at home with can of Doom insecticide, Clanwilliam, South Africa, 1975 Copyright credit: © Steve Bloom /SteveBloom.com
Grand Parade, Cape Town, South Africa, 1976 Copyright credit: © Steve Bloom /SteveBloom.com
Policeman chasing man during street protest, Cape Town, South Africa, 1976 Copyright credit: © Steve Bloom /SteveBloom.com
Bus stop, Cape Town, South Africa, 1976 Copyright credit: © Steve Bloom /SteveBloom.com
British Journal of Photography. Cover - August 1977
The Guardian Gallery © Tom Bulley