Cedric Nunn, Ernest Cole & Anti Apartheid Photography


African Humanities Program Postdoctoral Fellowships


Identities in Art & Design Research Center


South African photographers Cedric Nunn (1956-) and Ernest Cole (1940 – 1990) are the focus of my fellowship application to revise my PhD dissertation into a manuscript. My dissertation brought to light unknown and personal information on both Nunn and Cole on whom little has been published. I draw from Nunn’s multi-media project about his family, Blood Relatives (2005) and his photographic project about his maternal grandmother, Madhlawu (1997) that was made during apartheid and only surfaced in the new South Africa. Cole produced the influential House of the Bondage (1967) and his archive surfaced after it was thought missing since the 1970s. Combining archival research, oral interviews, political biography, cultural theory with visual analysis, and moving between close readings of history, images, biography, and archival fragments, my study claims that Nunn and Cole were visual activists who deployed their practice through and against race classification as photographers classified coloured and self-identified as black.