During our very exciting showcase of the Terry O’Neill Award finalists, we want to take the time to really delve into the work of the exhibited photographers to give you wonderful viewers a deeper insight into the people behind the lens. Last but not least in the series, we will be looking at the works of Neville Petersen, whose series ‘Not Just a Backwater’ was shortlisted for the award.
This project is a very personal one to Peterson, and of it he explains “we actually do have some paved roads in South Africa. When South Africa hits the international headlines it usually has a negative tone. On my own I cannot change the world’s perception of my country, but I can show viewers – one at a time, there is a different and sometimes unexpected side to it. Internationally there is an impression that Africa as a whole, is exclusively wild and rural. Although that is the dominant landscape a tourist might encounter, may I introduce you to some sophisticated industry?
Here and there dotted amongst the dense bush, which you think overgrows towns and settlements, or rising up from the desolate, waving grasslands, are majestic modern, manmade structures. Structures fine and functional. Some produce power, some refine minerals – many more manufacture all kinds of merchandise. Darkest Africa with a glimmer of yellow on the horizon, it is not a bush fire, it is the city’s lights. A lot of emphasis is placed on travelling extensively for photographers, I have so many stories I still need and want to tell locally, I do not feel the urge to leave my country’s borders. This particular project focuses on the generation of electricity and I have only started working on it recently. I like exploring terrain where the public rarely get to go. There are not many places left that have not been ‘Instagrammed’ extensively and uploaded, pinned and tagged to the tenth degree. The more red tape required and the more various offices have to approve my request for photography, the more I know my images might stand a chance of being just slightly unique. Extraordinary – by contrast when I display these photographs to local audiences, many ask which European city it was taken in. No one believes we are capable of this, not even ourselves.”
All images © Neville Petersen
Further examples of Neville’s work can be seen here.
Today is your last chance to catch these works and all of the incredible projects from the previously explored photographers. Get on down to the gallery today to see them all!