Photo Essay

People Of The Klein Karoo

9 Months

This documentary series has been ongoing for almost three years. Where I gradually got to know and grew to love and respect these folk known as the Cape Coloureds. The term Cape Coloureds refers to the modern descendants of slaves that were imported into South Africa by Dutch settlers as well as to other groups of mixed ancestry. They are the predominant "population group" in the Western Cape Province, roughly 4 million. Their Mother Tongue is mostly Afrikaans. Slaves of "Malay" ancestry were brought from Indonesia,Madagascar, and Mocambique, and from these origins they gradually developed into a grouping that was subsequently classified as a single major ethnical grouping under the Apartheid regime. In many cases the slaves were imported to be concubines and wives to single male Dutch settlers. Much racial mixture has therefore occurred over the generations, both with Europeans and with indigenous Khoi and San. This area of The Klein Karoo (Little Karoo) is about 5 hours inland from Cape Town,between the Swartberg and Outeniqua Mountains. The closest large town is Oudtshoorn, which used to be the centre of the Ostrich Feather Industry many years ago. Almost every single day I will walk over and spend time in the little village gradually gaining their trust, always using natural lighting and minimum equipment. I totally rely on my eye in my work and only try to capture emotion, I am a self taught photographer and I always try to create my own style, with unusual crops and my own techniques, mostly disregarding "the rules of photography"! These are a selection of my personal favourites. Featured here are Annie, Beetjie, Marie, Magdalene, Wayne, Marta, Johannes, Lundi, Vroutjie, Mark, Keenan and Selwyn.

7 responses

  • rory cobbe

    rory cobbe gave props (2 Dec 2008):

    incredible Jill. You continue to amaze. you ahve such respect for your subject sit shows in what they give to you.

  • patrick john o'doherty

    patrick john o'doherty   said (2 May 2009):

    big love

  • minkaTools

    minkaTools said (25 Aug 2009):

    I concur, you clearly respect the people you document. have they seen any of these, they are beautiful!

  • Roxana Brivent-Barnes

    Roxana Brivent-Barnes   said (26 Jun 2012):

    Well done, simply perfect!

  • Ma. Dolores Guillén Solís

    Ma. Dolores Guillén Solís   gave props (5 Oct 2012):

    Great story!...Very beautiful images...

  • Tomma Henckel

    Tomma Henckel   said (7 Oct 2012):

    Fabulous photo essay. It is so difficult to do this because you really bare people's souls in these pictures. Nicely done, the kind of work I always wish I could do but cannot.

  • James Wiley

    James Wiley gave props (10 Jul 2013):

    Absolutely fascinating story and superb environmental portraiture! V

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