KLIPTOWN PHOTOGRAPHY PROJECT

Teaching documentary photography to the youth of Kliptown, South Africa

The Kliptown Photo Project is dedicated to creating opportunities for the high school students of Kliptown, South Africa, one of the oldest informal settlements in Soweto, where residents live with up to four generations of their families in one or two room shacks without electricity, running water or public services.

In July 2014 we went to Kliptown and worked with one American photographer and three young African photographers to run a week long photo workshop for 15 students. We believe that learning photography is a way to foster creativity and connection. We wanted our students to show us the world through their eyes and gain skills, confidence, and agency through the process.

We provided digital cameras for each student and worked with them in the classroom, the community, and the computer lab, teaching them everything from lighting and composition to how to photograph strangers and upload their photos to facebook. The students were hard working, enthused, and hungry for knowledge; it was an exciting and powerful week for all participants.

An exhibition of the photographs taken by the students and their teachers took place a month after the workshop at Mashumi Art Projects in Soweto and was a great critical success. The students were able to see their work in the gallery, which was an empowering and thrilling experience for them. Photos are also available for sale on this website.  Proceeds from the exhibition and sale of photographs will go to the Kliptown Youth Program to further their educational and arts programs in the community.

Browse through our store -- you can purchase photos taken by our students and instructors to help sustain the project or you can simply make a donation to sustain the project. 

Ulwimi ululodwa alonelanga, which is a Zulu phrase meaning, "One language is never enough."

What is Kliptown Photo Project?

We are dedicated to creating opportunities for the high school students of Kliptown, South Africa, one of the oldest informal settlements in Soweto. The students in Kliptown live with up to four generations of their families in one or two room shacks without electricity, running water or public services.

We will be working with several young, dynamic South African photographers to teach the students photography and photojournalism this July. We will provide the digital equipment which would otherwise be unavailable to them, and teach them how to publish their photos to blogs and websites.

We believe that learning photography is a way to foster creativity and connection. We want them to be able to show us the world through their eyes, and to gain skills, confidence, and agency through the process.

Exhibitions of these photographs taken by the students and their teachers are planned for both South Africa and the United States. Proceeds from the exhibitions and sale of photographs will go to the Kliptown Youth Program to further their educational and arts programs in the community.

Get involved with the Kliptown Photo Project here.