Long lost Apartheid photographs resurfacing.
When Gideon Mendel left South Africa in 1990, three years before the official end of Apartheid, he left a huge archive of transparencies and negatives in storage.
In 2016, 25 years later, Mendel learned that the top inch of one the boxes had been water-damaged. Coincidentally, the photographer had been working on a long-term project about climate change and flooding called Drowning World
These images, many seen for the first time, are now presented in Mendel’s latest photobook, Freedom or Death. Split into three parts, each section is categorised by a different process of intervention.
Through this attempt to re-engage with these documents of history — a history of conflict, tragedy and struggle — Mendel was also able to re-engage with his own memories. “I’ve come to realise that to some extent I was packing away those traumas within myself, like how I packed away the boxes,” he reflects. “Unpacking it has been an important process for me.” Freedom or Death by Gideon Mendel is published by GOST. The book launch will take place at UCL in London on 28 January 2020. The work will also be shown at ARTCO’s new gallery in Cape Town from 15 February 2020.