Guy Tillim, ‘High school, Lubumbashi, DR Congo, from Avenue Patrice Lumumba’, 2007-2008, The Photographers' Gallery

About Guy Tillim

Considered one of South Africa’s leading photographers, Guy Tillim focuses his lens on Africa’s social and political terrain, capturing child soldiers in the Congo, refugees in Angola, and urban life in Johannesburg. Tillim explores not only places of crisis in Africa, but also captures quieter scenes—in post offices, schools, and hotels. His carefully composed images counter the drama usually found in photojournalism, expressing instead the complex realities and perceptions of Africa. In his series “Avenue Patrice Lumumba” (2007–08), Tillim documented the many streets in Africa named after Patrice Lumumba, one of the continent’s first elected African leaders of modern times, who was later murdered. Depicting modernist buildings in various states of decay, Tillim suggests the failed idealism of Africa’s independence movement. “Patrice Lumumba’s dream, his nationalism, is discernible in the structures, if one reads certain clues,” Tillim has said, “as is the death of his dream, in these de facto monuments.”

South African, b. 1962, Johannesburg, South Africa, based in Cape Town, South Africa