Closing date for the 2013 Ernest Cole Award competition announced

We are excited to invite photographers to submit their work  for the Ernest Cole Photographic Award of 2013. All submissions must be received by the 14th June 2013 and should be submitted in line with the submission guidelines provided on this website. The winning photographer will receive R150 000, with which to complete the project, have an exhibition during 2014 and publish a book thereof. Judging for the 2013 Award  will take place in July 2013.  
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A synopsis of 'Life under Democracy'

Dale Yudelman's exhibition 'Life under Democracy' has moved on from Johannesburg and  is currently in Durban. The exhibition's next stop is Cape Town at the AVA Gallery opening on the 29th October 2012. Dale has been receiving good reviews in the South African press including in the Mail & Guardian and Sunday Times. Yudelman's images for the display were all shot with an i-phone and explore life of ordinary South Africans. Reviews by Marianne Meijer from The Mercury stated that "his images are truly spectacular, and at the same time make us aware of the change that slowly takes aplce in our country. The images are not only beautifully presented but also meaningful in today's South Africa."

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Ernest Cole Inaugural Award Exhibition and Book Launch - Johannesburg

The inaugural Ernest Cole Award Exhibition will take place at the Wits Art Museum in Johannesburg on 5th September 2012. This will include the book launch of the first winner of the award, Cape Town-based documentary photographer Dale Yudelman. He comments:  “Life Under Democracy (published by Jacana Media) consists of vibrant daily reflections, shot in passing, with the simple motivation of noticing what is”.  Renowned artist, Visual Artists Art Administrator and activist Bongi Dhlomo will open the significant event. Ernest Cole was born in South Africa in 1940 and received his first camera as a gift from a clergyman. Before leaving the country in the mid 1960s he worked as a photojournalist for Drum magazine, sharing a darkroom with photographer Struan Robertson. On his own initiative, Cole undertook a comprehensive photographic essay in which he showed what it meant to be black under apartheid. The House of Bondage was published in New York in 1967 and was immediately banned in South Africa. Cole was a courageous documentarian who at times risked his life to share his imagery with the world. “He wasn’t just brave. He wasn’t just enterprising. He was a supremely fine photographer,” says David Goldblatt, a co-founder of the award. Sadly, he never returned to South Africa and died in exile in New York in 1990 just after the release of Nelson Mandela and the unbanning of the ANC and other liberation organisations. In contrast to Cole’s work, Yudelman’s project is shot on an iphone and explores the life of ordinary South Africans today. His journey takes us from the streets of Johannesburg to the surrounds of Hout Bay, Cape Town; from street protests to parliament, from the poor to the rich and famous. He delivers a personal, sometimes scathing and often humorous account of our unruly and evolving democracy. Yudelman’s interpretation of Life Under Democracy coincides with the ‘digitial revolution’ providing a provocative essay of contrast and social commentary executed in his inimitably, edgy style. It is a significant social documentary that invests in the power of smaller moments and features South Africans in their eighteenth year of freedom. The Award, initiated by University of Cape Town Libraries, offers a unique opportunity for photographers to complete an existing project focusing on South African society. The award has been made possible by the generous support of the Peter Brown, Gavin Relly Educational, Kirsh Family Trusts and Orms. Date: Open to the public from 6 September to 24 September 2012 Where: Corner Jan Smuts Avenue and Jorissen Street, Braamfontein. Secure parking: Braamfontein Centre, Cor Jorissen and Bertha Streets, entrance in Stiemens Street; 86-92 Juta Street. On street parking is also often available. Opening hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 10am – 4pm For more information please visit or contact Fiona Rankin-Smith at Wits Arts Museum: (011) 717 1362 Neliwa Moshega at Jacana: (021) 628 3200 Paul Weinberg Co-ordinator Ernest Cole Award:   (021) 650 2089
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Ilan Godfrey announced as the 2012 winner of the Ernest Cole Award

First of all thank you to all of the applicants that submitted their work for consideration for the 2012 Ernest Cole Award. The submissions we received this year were of an extremely high standard, which left the adjudication committee with some tough decisions to make. The committee sat in July and have selected this year's winner. We are also excited to inform you that during the adjudication session, a decision was taken to introduce an annual Master Class. Invites will be extended to some of the 2012 Award Applicants by the Committee. We will announce further details in the near future. More importantly, who won the 2012 Award? We are excited to announce that this year’s winner is Ilan Godfrey, whose submission is titled Legacy of the Mine’. More about Ilan can be found at his website The study explores the consequences of mining on South Africa's land and people - an exploration of the need for economic growth versus protection of the environment. Once a symbol of wealth and formidable force in the development of SA, the mine today reveals the scars of neglect and decay, which poses a threat to our society. Please join us in congratulating Ilan on his win!
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2012 Award Submissions closed

The submission deadline for the 2012 award has passed. We wish to thank all those people that made submissions. These will now go into the process of being judged by the Committee; after which we will announce the winner for this years award. Also, keep a look out for the exhibitions of Dale Yudelman's (the 2011 winner) that will take place later this year in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town.
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