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Above: A fragment of “Cassarinas at Dawn, Maputo, Mozambique” by David Larsen, is one of the images that forms part of the IZWE de Africa exhibition that has travelled to Buenos Aires, Argentina as part of a cultural exchange programme.

Clare Louise Thomas writes to participating photographers from Buenos Aires:

So, we opened the exhibition on Thursday evening and it was a roaring success. The space looked amazing and the feedback was just magnificent. Every single one (I love this) of the photographers were singled out as someone’s favourite and people were just thrilled to be seeing the work that was coming out of South Africa. The cultural TV channel (Canal A) came and did an interview and I made a speech about what an honour it has been to work on this project and how valuable it is for emerging South African photographers work to be getting out there.

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Africa Media Online exhibition organiser and photographer, Clare Louise Thomas being interviewed by Canal A at the opening of the “IZWE: Desde Africa” exhibition as part of the Proyecto 34˚S cultural exchange between Cape Town and Buenos Aires. PHOTO: Clare Louise Thomas

The Economic, Political and Cultural Counceller from the South African Embassy Vicor Rambau was there and showed great interest in the exhibition. I will be meeting with him next week to see what future possibilities may hold, as well as with the director of the Borges. Marta Camponara is a well respected African Art Collector here who is touring her exhibition of African sculptures around Argentina and we are looking into our exhibition travelling with hers… The options are looking good, but even if it just stays as is where it is now. it is a great thing. The pictures look incredible and as a collection really work wonderfully together. I can’t wait till we can bring it back home and show the people there… 🙂

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Members of the public browse the exhibition at the opening in the prestigious Centro Cultural Borges in Buenos Aires, Argentina. PHOTO: Clare Louise Thomas

Watch the media for information about the exhibition as it filters out bit by bit. The Cape Argus featured something this weekend with their own selection of photos and quotes from the information provided. So check that out and I will keep you updated on more as it happens.

Again, congratulations. I am so thrilled at the outcome of this experience.

Clare in Buenos Aires
(Africa Media Online)

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Last night saw the opening of the IZWE de Africa exhibition featuring the works of South African photographers in a prestigious venue in Buenos Aires, Argentina. A collaboration between Africa Media Online and Proyecto 34°S, this six-week exhibition provides a mix of emerging and established photographers with the chance to share their views on Contemporary African Culture.

Proyecto 34°S is an artistic exchange between Buenos Aires, Argentina, and Cape Town, South Africa. Its primary objective is to promote and facilitate the exchange of African and Latin American performing arts, culture, heritage and literature. Curated by Nadia Strier, the Izwe de Africa exhibition features as part of the South African Embassy’s heritage showcase at the Centro Cultural Borges, as well as online at Africa Media Online, where buyers will be able to select and purchase art prints.

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Above: Jeremy Jowell’s image of Seychellois fishermen is one of 23 photographs by Africa Media Online photographers featuring in a prestigious exhibition in Argentina which also serves to launch our new print-on-demand service

Each of the photographers was asked to describe how their photographs reflect their views on the theme. Tammy Gardner, whose image is of a young man striding with his briefcase before the crumbling façade of The Empire building in Muizenberg, on the False Bay coastline, sums up the overall tone of the exhibition in her commentary:

“The obvious statement of crumbling Empire in Africa, the dilapidated building still showing its beautiful design form, the optimistic morning light, the purposeful stride of the black man with his shabby clothes and briefcase. A perfect metaphor for the complexities of African life as we know it today – not so shiny, not so picture perfect, but hopeful, working with what we have.”

Africa Media Online is a South African organization that specializes in giving African photographers a voice and an opportunity to compete on equal footing in international markets. “A balanced view of Africa and her rich heritage cannot exist unless we as Africans are able to consistently tell Africa’s story from our perspective in the global information economy,” explains David Larsen, Director of Africa Media Online.

Larsen refers to Africa Media Online’s role as the provision of a ‘digital trade route’ – this includes training, the provision of online systems and an image library that markets content directly to editors and publishers, curators and art directors around the world. Now this exhibition launches yet another platform that the company will be providing: the opportunity for international buyers to select African images online and have art prints delivered to their door.

The exhibiting photographers are:
Sean Wilson, Marinda Louw, Kim Thunder, Christine Nesbitt, Simone Scholtz, David Larsen, Jeremy Jowell, Karin Duthie, Craig Urquhart, Chris Kirchhoff, Nikki Rixon, Tammy Gardner, Clare Louise Thomas and Toni Jade Efune.

Six of these fourteen photographers were a part of the African Photo Entrepreneur Programme run by Africa Media Online in 2008, which was focused on growing photo entrepreneurs to compete on the global stage in terms of photo production and market savvy.

Right Click to download PDF slide show of the exhibition

For further information please contact the Media Manager, Dominique le Roux: +27 21 788 6261 or +27 82 823 0460 dominique@africamediaonline.com

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Picture Above: Participants in the African Photo Entrepreneur Programme and Africa Media Online staff during a team building exercise run by Over the Top Adventures at the start of the Global Competitive Masterclass at the Old Prison Conference Centre in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. From left to right: Melinda De Villiers (Keyworder – AMO), Kevin Factor (APEP participant – Knysna, South Africa) Marinda Louw (APEP participant – Cape Town, South Africa), Ian Blackburn (Product Manager – AMO), Toni Jade Efune (APEP participant – Johannesburg, South Africa), Adebayo Omotade (APEP participant – Lagos, Nigeria), Tammy Gardner (APEP Participant – Cape Town, South Africa)

Twenty-seven professional photographers, drawn from as far afield as Kenya, Nigeria and Liberia, have made it through to the final stage of Africa Media Online’s African Photo Entrepreneur Programme (APEP).

The select group are all that remain of over 150 photographers who made application to the prestigious programme in June this year. After a portfolio review close to 50 photographers were invited for interviews. In all 40 photographers were invited on to first training block of the programme, the Digital Campus, which was run in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Pietermaritzburg in August.

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APEP participant Claire Thomas from Cape Town, South Africa trusts her colleagues during a team building exercise at the start of the Global Competitiveness Masterclass, the final stage of the African Photo Entrepreneur Programme. PHOTO: Alan Nambiar

At the end of the week-long Digital Campus participants were given an assignment which would determine who would make it through to the final stage of the programme, the Global Competitiveness Masterclass.

As part of the APEP the Global Competitiveness Masterclass aims to empower African photographers to become globally competitive ahead of the 2010 Fifa World Cup. The masterclass will be hosted by Africa Media Online in Pietermaritzburg from Sunday to Thursday, November 9-13.

To make it through to this stage, the photographers had to undertake an assignment which broke the stereotype of Africa as full of starving, begging and poverty-stricken people. The professional photographers had to “capture the essence of the proud, stylish and technologically-savvy African of today.”

“I was really impressed how many of the photographers applied themselves to the assignment in the midst of their normal work pressures,” said Africa Media Online’s Media Manager, Dominique Le Roux, whose job it was to coach the photographers through the assignment. “Many of them went to extraordinary lengths to set up photo shoots or capture daily life situations that fulfil the brief of capturing the hip and happening emerging black middle class. And on top of it all, every image had to be model released which makes them incredibly valuable in the picture industry because they can be sold for use in advertising.”

“We decided on this brief because we know there is a real need in the picture market for these images,” said Rosanne Larsen, Director of africanpictures.net, Africa Media Online’s picture sales division. “So we knew that right from the outset, if the photographers fulfilled the assignment, they would be making money right away.”

Of the 27 who made it through, 13 are men and 14 women drawn from all over South Africa and from Kenya, Nigeria and Liberia. And for the 13 photographers who did not make it through to the final stage, they will be given the opportunity to participate in next year’s photo assignment and so possibly qualify for the Global Competitiveness Masterclass in 2009.

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Participants in the Global Competitiveness Masterclass during a group session. From Left front to Right front: Felix Masi (Nairobi, Kenya), Yolande Snyders (Cape Town, South Africa), Nikki Rixon (Cape Town, South Africa), Ahmed Jallazo (Monrovia, Liberia), Adebayo Omotade (Lagos, Nigeria), Kirsten Hughes (Pietermaritzburg, South Africa), Ed Suter (Cape Town, South Africa), Yasser Booley (Cape Town, South Africa)

The African Photo Entrepreneur Programme is aimed at working professional photographers and aims to take up-and-coming African photographers and assist to get them established in the African and international picture industry.

“We don’t teach photographers how to take pictures,” said David Larsen, Africa Media Online’s Director. “ They don’t get onto the programme unless they know how to do that. What we aim to do is to take them to the next level. So the first training block, the Digital Campus, teaches photographers how to deliver images that are technically at the standard that the global picture industry will accept and how to manage and grow their picture archive over time. The Global Competitiveness Masterclass, on the other hand, is all about getting images to market.”

“Africa Media Online has been fortunate in that it has managed to build a network of friends and colleagues around the world and we are going to be drawing on leading photographers and picture library owners from South Africa, the USA, Germany and Holland to give input to the programme, including two Pulitzer prize winning photographers, Greg Marinovich and Rick Gershon.”

“We have also been fortunate in that the programme is partially funded by the European Union through Gijima KZN and the KZN Department of Economic Development, and we have had a number of sponsors coming on board including Tudor Photographic with Sigma cameras, Adobe USA and Microsoft Professional Photography in the US, FotoFinder GmbH in Germany and O’Reilly Media in the US.”

“Our aim is that by the end of the week the 27 photographers will understand the global picture industry, understand how to best place themselves within it, how to access markets and have at their fingertips actual routes to market for their work.”

“Our goal is that photographers should walk away from the masterclass with a significant competitive edge which enables them to thrive as photo entrepreneurs,” he said.

“The African Photo Entrepreneur Programme is not just a training course, it is a whole process aimed at empowering deserving professional photographers who have committed themselves to making a career of photography in Africa. In terms of this, when the programme ends we don’t just drop them, but rather they are brought into an ongoing relationship with us at Africa Media Online in which they are supported in a community and provided with technology and distribution networks for their work,” Larsen said.

Africa Media Online’s mission as an organisation is Africans telling Africa’s story. The APEP is part of a digital trade route that Africa Media Online has been building with help from grant funding from the European Union through Gijima KZN enabling African photographers and photographic archives to present their work to global media, art and product markets while retaining ownership over their work ensuring that revenues flow back into Africa.

Find out who got through to the Global Competitiveness Masterclass

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This project is supported by the European Union

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