Jurgen Schadeberg

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Jürgen Schadeberg, dubbed the “The Father of South African Photography”, has an extensive archive of photographs, spanning sixty years. Influenced by Henri Cartier-Bresson, he has taken photographs all over the world, in particular in South Africa, where he documented the Apartheid, giving an insight into South African culture during the 1950s.

All works are available for purchase – please click on an image for further information.

Early Life

Schadeberg was born in Berlin on 18 March 1931, the son of an actress and the owner of a small textile company. He left school at fifteen and became an apprentice for a German press agency in Hamburg, training as a photographer. However, in 1950, Schadeberg left Germany, scarred by the war years, and moved to live with his mother in South Africa. In 1951, at just twenty years old, Schadeberg joined Drum magazine and became one of three staff working there at the time. Over the next two decades, Drum grew into one of Africa’s leading magazines and Schadeberg became it’s head photographer, creating a department of photographers whom he taught, and many of whom went on to become successful photographers in their own right. Schadeberg’s photographs over these two decades document important figures in the history of South Africa, such as Nelson Mandela and Walter Sisulu, and pivotal moments including, the Defiance Campaign, 1952; the Treason Trial, 1958; and the Sharpeville Funeral in 1960.

Photographic Career

In 1965, however, Drum was banned and Schadeberg moved abroad, first to London, then Spain, New York and France, travelling around Europe and the United States for the next twenty years. He taught photography at schools in New York and Hamburg and continued to work as a photographer for publications such as The Sunday Times.

Schadeberg’s travels resulted in numerous photo-essays which, starting from a humanist perspective, focused unashamedly on the daily lives of ordinary people from around the world.

Later Life

In 1985, Schadeberg returned to South Africa with his wife, Claudia, and made both documentary and fictional films about the South African community. He has also published many photographic books.

Jürgen and Claudia Schadeberg now live in Berlin.