Born in Pietermaritzburg, 57-year-old South African documentary photographer, Paul Weinberg descends from Latvia on his father’s side and Belarus on his mothers. A fourth generation South African, he is also a filmmaker, writer, curator, educationist and archivist.
Beginning his career in the late 1970’s, he worked with South African non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and photographed current events for news agencies and foreign newspapers. In 1979, Weinberg taught photography at the Open School, a community arts project started by the Institute of Race Relations to train young black youths in the arts. He worked for the Institute of Race Relations as a media worker and in the early eighties filmed two super-8 documentaries, one on the mainly black populated Township, Alexandra in Johannesburg and the other on Page View, a predominately-Indian area before their forced removal.
During this period, he coordinated the photographic exhibition and film festival for the Culture and Resistance Conference and Festival held in Botswana in 1982. In collaboration with photographer Omar Badsha, he founded Afrapix, a collective photo agency that played a key role in documenting the resistance to apartheid.
After 1990, Paul increasingly concentrated on feature rather than news photography. He has built up a large body of work portraying diverse peoples, cultures, and human environments ‘beyond the headlines’. It demonstrates a sustained engagement with indigenous inhabitants throughout southern Africa, particularly in rural settings.
Paul’s images have exhibited and been published worldwide as well having over 10 books published in his own right. He has initiated several major photographic projects, notably Then & Now, a collection of contrasting images by eight South African photographers taken during and after apartheid. In 1993, Weinberg won the Mother Jones International Documentary Award for his portrayal of the fisher folk of Kosi Bay on South Africa’s northern Natal coast.
Mr Weinberg has taught photography at the Centre of Documentary Studies at Duke University in the United States, and holds a master’s degree from the same university. He is currently senior curator of visual archives at the University of Cape Town, where he lectures in documentary arts. Weinberg has founded, with David Goldblatt, the Ernest Cole Award for creative photography in South Africa.