Peter Magubane (South Africa)
Mugabane started his career in 1955 in the midst of apartheid in South Africa. He started his career in 1955, when he joined Drum magazine. This took Magubane and his camera to the heart of the anti-apartheid defiance campaigns and treason trials. However, at the time the official press venues were restricted to white photographers only. Not being allowed to carry a camera in the open, he had to hide his camera in a hollowed out Bible, loaf of bread, or empty milk carton to get the shots he needed.
On June 1969 he was arrested and held for 586 days in solitary confinement without being charged with a crime.
On his release, he was banned from photography for five years and had to resign from the Rand Daily Mail.
In 1971, he was rearrested and sentenced to a further 123 days for contravening the banning order, prompting the newspaper to run a feature, Magubane, The Man Who Does Not Exist.
However his coverage of the June 16 Soweto student uprisings circumnavigated the globe, earning him international acclaim and made him an icon of the struggle. On this day 3000 and 10 000 students mobilized by the Soweto Students Representative Council’s Action Committee supported by the BCM marched peacefully to demonstrate and protest against the government’s directive. The march was meant to culminate at a rally in Orlando Stadium. However, on their pathway they were met by heavily armed police who fired teargas and later live ammunition on demonstrating students. This resulted in a widespread revolt that turned into an uprising against the government. While the uprising began in Soweto, it spread across the country and carried on until the following year.
When a group of young men approached him demanding that he stop taking photos he said ‘Struggle without documentation is not struggle. I’m not asking for myself only; I’m asking for anybody that has a camera documenting this struggle. You must let them work.’”
The aftermath of the events of June 16 1976 had dire consequences for the Apartheid government. Images of the police firing on peacefully demonstrating students led an international revulsion against South Africa as its brutality was exposed. Meanwhile, the weakened and exiled liberation movements received new recruits fleeing political persecution at home giving impetus to the struggle against Apartheid.
His worldwide acclaim for his work led to a number of international photographic and journalistic awards, one of which was the American National Professional Photographers Association Humanistic Award in 1986, in recognition of one of several incidents in which he put his camera aside and intervened to help prevent people from being killed.
He also took photographs for several United Nations agencies, including the High Commission for Refugees and UNICEF, being particularly committed to exposing the plight of children and documenting traditional societies. His photographs have appeared in Life magazine, the New York Times, National Geographic and Time magazine.
Magubane was a fighter. He thrived on the challenge. And in 1990 his hard work was rewarded when Mandela personally chose him as his official photographer.
Further reading via conciousness.zb
NYT interview on his current work
Recent exhibition on child labor
*forgive the length of this post. Tumblr coverage of his work is sorely lacking so i feel compelled to give more context.