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Best Of 2021 : STEIDL : Jo Ractliffe : Photographs : 1980s to now


Co-published by STEIDL and The Walther Collection, this book is the first to present a comprehensive selection of the work of South African photographer Jo Ractliffe.

Looking back over the past 35 years, it brings together images from major photo-essays, as well as early works that have not been seen before.

Described by Okwui Enwezor as “one of the most accomplished and under-rated photographers of her generation,” Ractliffe started working in the early 1980s, and her photographs continue to reflect her preoccupation with the South African landscape and the ways in which it figures in the country’s imaginary—particularly the violent legacies of apartheid. In 2007 she extended her interests to the war in Angola and published three photobooks on the aftermath of that conflict and its manifestations in the South African landscape: Terreno Ocupado (2008), As Terras do Fim do Mundo (2010) and The Borderlands (2015).

Since 1985 Ractliffe has taught within formal and informal contexts including Wits University, Johannesburg, the Market Photo Workshop, and the Salzburg Summer Academy and has also co-founded public projects that engage photography to reflect on history and memory in South Africa, including The Joubert Part Project (2000) and Johannesburg Circa Now (2004).

Her work has been exhibited widely both in South Africa and abroad. Her portfolio of platinum prints, As Terras do Fim do Mundo, was the inaugural exhibition at the Walther Collection Project Space in New York in 2011. Other solo exhibitions have been held at Fotohof Gallery, Salzburg (2012), Museet for Fotokunst, Odense (2013), Peabody Essex Museum, Salem (2014), Fondation A Stichting, Brussels (2015) and Centro Fotografico Manuel Alvarez Bravo, Oaxaca (2018). In 2015 her exhibition, The Aftermath of Conflict: Jo Ractliffe’s Photographs of Angola and South Africa was mounted at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York – the first of a South African photographer to be held at the museum. A retrospective of her work, Drives, is currently on view at the Art Institute of Chicago until April 2021.


Jo Ractliffe: Photographs: 1980s to now

Text by Emmanuel Iduma, Matthew Witkovsky

Conversation with Artur Walther

Co-published by STEIDL and The Walther Collection

Book Design: Gabrielle Guy

Production: Bernard Fischer, Gerhard Steidl

470 pages, 291 images

11.75 x 10.25 in. / 24.2 x 28.3 cm

Four-color process


US$ 125.00 / € 95.00

ISBN 978-3-95829-698-5


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