Pieter Hugo

Pieter Hugo is a self-taught photographer specializing in portrait and documentary photography. African society is the main theme of Pieter's projects. Nigerian gangs, Liberian boy scouts come into view of his lens, he shot judges in Botswana, taxi washers in Dubran and honey collectors in Ghana.
Hugo calls himself a "political photographer with a small letter p." For a portrait of a man with a hyena, Hugo received a prize in the "Portraits" category at the 2006 World Press Photo Contest.
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World famous photographer Pieter, whose work is simply shocking to some viewers, was born in South Africa, in Johannesburg in 1976. He now lives in Cape Town. In order to show marginal groups of people, Pieter actively travels across the expanses of the black continent.

"I traveled a lot around Africa. I know it, but at the same time I never became part of it. I cannot say that my opinion is authoritative, but I claim that it is honest", says Pieter Hugo about his work.

Hyena and other people

Once Pieter received a mobile photo from his friend on which people walked around the city with wild hyenas. Who were those people: robbers, bodyguards or drug dealers - Pieter and his friend did not know. A few weeks later, Pieter flew to the capital of Nigeria and spotted strangers. It turned out that they were part of a small circus group, earning a living by street performances. Pieter was more impressed not by their shows but with the symbiosis of the urban and wild in everyday's life. Hugo accompanied them for several days, but he didn't photography the performances.

Artists - several men, a little girl, three hyenas, four monkeys and several pythons. Animal tamers are related, their craft has traditionally been handed down in families from generation to generation. They have old secrets of how to catch an animal, how to calm it, how to care for it, how to make sure that it does not cause harm to humans. Spells, potions are magic tools in their dangerous work.

Hugo made the next photo project in the city of Mesina on the border between Zimbabwe and South Africa. The photographer created this series when Colors magazine asked him to work on the story of the fight against AIDS.

After was return to Nigeria and shooting Nigerian film industry, which came as Nollywood project. Nollywood is an analogue of Hollywood, a powerful film production company in Nigeria. By the number of films produced by this company, Nollywood has long overtaken Hollywood. Many call Nollywood the real stamping of low-quality films. Basically, these are films designed for the mass audience of Nigeria - criminal action movies, horrors, melodramas and so on. Nigeria has its own mentality and these films suit their tastes.

In 2011 Hugo introduced the Permanent Error project, for which he shot people and the landscapes of a huge dump of obsolete technology and electronic garbage in Ghana and the people living in this dump.
Last years Pieter continues to make documentary photo projects, also he collaborates with fashion brands. For example the Bottega Veneta invited Pieter to shoot their collection in 2014.

Portraits of Pieter Hugo evoke a different reaction of the public: from curiosity to disgust, the photographer reveals sometimes tragic relationship of a person with himself, society, animals and nature.
Author Anna Laza
Website of photographer http://www.pieterhugo.com
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