Johannesburg …… bustling, vibrant and chaotic by day; silent, intriguing and dangerous at night. Michael ‘Mack’ Magagane was born and raised in this multi-cultural city, where the uniqueness of his hometown continually inspires this young talented 23 year olds’ ideas and imagery.
Mack’s work explores the urban spaces that the city offers. In his series «Light hours» he wandered the inner city centre with his tripod and camera, predominantly at night, capturing its diversity from every possible angle. Whether shooting from an elevated position on rooftops of high-rise buildings or else lying prone on the ground at street level, he captures not only the human side of life, like late-night workers, newspaper vendors or homeless vagabonds, but also the abundance of architectural diversity, clusters of signage, wealth, poverty, desperation and hope.
Magagane followed up this body of work with an exhibition of his collection «In the city». This project probes a more intimate perspective of his surroundings, delving into the momentary aspects of everyday life in the metropolis. Through his images of people and places, he expertly narrates brief encounters, transitory instances and mysterious intangible familiarities.
Mack continually questions Johannesburg’s comparison to other major cities, or whether its stature is unparalleled. He endeavours to define the essence of the city, querying for example whether the rising sun is responsible for its daily burst of energy or if the approaching dusk and onset of darkness causes the lonely emptiness of courtyards and streets at night.
He completed an Advanced Programme in Photography at the Market Photo Workshop School of Photography where he was a recipient of the Tierney Fellowship (http://www.tierneyfellowship.org/about.php). During his attendance he was mentored by local photographer Jo Ratcliffe, who taught him to “shoot from the heart”.
In 2011, he exhibited at the Photoquai Festival in Paris, with his collection «I’ll be gone soon», a disturbing insight into the time preceding a suicide attempt - a result of the increased rate of suicidal deaths that South Africa has encountered in recent years. This year also saw him receive an Art ImpACT award for Visual Arts at the FNB Johannesburg Art Fair.
Mack’s latest work «Southern Suburbia» has exhibited in both South Africa and France, where he currently has a photography residency at the Centre Photographique d’Ile-de-France, part of the France-South Africa Seasons in France 2011-2012.