Tracey Derrick says of her photography; “I live in South Africa, a country with a particular wealth of cultures. In my work I attempt to show this wealth – to share it, and so demonstrate its value.
By showing how we differ in our lifestyles, I hope that people will come to not only appreciate their differences, but also recognise how much they have in common.
In my work I document struggles for self-determination, dignity, meaning and power. I photograph ordinary people: refugees, sex workers, street children, displaced Himbas, farm workers and women in prison. In these portraits of their lives at work and play, I give them a voice, focusing my camera on the struggle against the legacy of apartheid: poverty, ignorance and violence – a statement confirming the beauty and hope of individuals and their communities.
I never photograph without permission, as my work is dependent on creating a relationship with people and their situation.
I use as little technical support as possible – a manual camera, no flash and no filters – to capture a raw energy in one to three frames. When I frame my photographs I never crop; I believe this destroys something of the truth and immediacy of each moment. I work mainly in black and white, processing the films myself and developing handprints in my darkroom. All these techniques involve human decisions as opposed to a digital process.”
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