Haircuts everywhere, Sophiatown 1958 © Juergen Schadeberg Picnic at Eaton Colleague, England 1981 © Juergen Schadeberg  Drum Cover, 1958 © Juergen Schadeberg Handstand, Hamburg, 1948 © Juergen Schadeberg Dance on Piano, 1952 © Juergen Schadeberg Miriam Makeba, 1955 © Juergen Schadeberg Waiting for the Trucks, 1959 © Juergen Schadeberg

Whether the image of Miriam Makeba singing, or the picture of Nelson Mandela looking through the bars of his former prison, Jürgen Schadeberg (*1931, Berlin) has taken numerous photographs in South Africa that are today considered legendary and iconic. As a photojournalist and representative of Life Photography, he is a humanist in the best sense of the word, a person who has an unprejudiced interest in the daily life and living conditions of his fellow human beings. His approach to those he portrays is always sympathetic and respectful, regardless of their nationality or the colour of their skin.

Born and brought up in Berlin, Schadeberg left Germany in 1950 with little more than a suitcase in his hand: it did, however, include his inexpensively purchased Leica IIIa, which allowed him to immediately establish himself in South Africa as a photojournalist. Influenced by experiences of racism in Europe, he found South Africa deeply divided, with the country’s black majority being violently oppressed by the white minority. 

Impartial, passionate and curious, these qualities allowed Schadeberg time and again to photograph places and situations, which would have been unimaginable for most of his white contemporaries. It was primarily his work for the magazine Drum, that ensured that he was to become a chronicler of an era. 

In 1964, Schadeberg was forced to leave South Africa, and spent the following decades working as a free-lance photographer in Europe and the USA. Here too he remained faithful to an empathetic approach to his work. It was not until 1985 that he returned to Johannesburg, where he produced the second chapter of his South African photographic journey, that ran until 2007. 

In 2014 Jürgen Schadeberg was honored by International Center of Photography Museum New York City with the Cornell Capa Lifetime Achievement Award, in 2018 he was honored by Leica Camera with the Leica Hall of Fame Award in acknowledgment of his body of over seven decades of work, and his untiring, courageous and outstanding commitment as a photographer.


21.06.19 - 08.09.19

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