Today I’ll be posting three of my favourite Paul Weinberg images.
The first, I think, links interestingly to our last image –Nelson Mandela casting his ballot in 1994’s first democratic elections. The image is entitled Inauguration of Mandela, Pretoria 1994, and shows a white, blonde little boy sitting below an enormous projection screen containing Mandela’s face. The tension in the photo seems to embody the fears of many white South Africans at the time – that with the ANC in power, things would become very bad for whites.
The huge figures of Mandela and two companions – faceless, only parts of their heads are showing – loom over the little blonde figure – his dress, haircut and general air somehow seem to cast him as a representative of conservative, apprehensive whitedom.
The second image captures an extremely heart-warming moment but is also a record of the human rights violations committed by the old South African government. Reunion after 20 Years, Riemvasmaak, 1995, shows two sisters who were classified as belonging to different races during Apartheid, and under the Group Areas Act were separated.
However, the pure happiness and love on the old woman’s face, as her eyes and hands join those of her recovered sister, makes this image primarily a tribute to joy, love and positive change. It is a truly beautiful image.
On the theme of change, the last photograph is a breezy, unusual image entitled On the ‘Quickie’, Durban Harbour, 1996. It was used for the cover of Paul Weinberg’s book Travelling Light, in which Inauguration of Mandela and Reunion after 20 Years are also published. As previously mentioned Travelling Light is a collection of Paul’s work spanning 25 years.
The Quickie was a ferry that carried people to-and-fro across Durban Harbour and often contained a wide assortment of interesting characters. This photograph has a delightfully whimsical atmosphere capturing the joyful feeling of freedom that comes with travel. The figure (consisting only of a pair of legs in a windswept skirt) could be a tourist or holidaymaker or someone travelling across the harbour after a longs days work. Whatever the case, for this moment – as she stands carefree and somewhat precariously on the edge of the ferry – the wind and the waves whisper the promise of adventure.