Today we chat to Wiebke Wilting. We welcome her to the SA Creative Network.
The ‘Tin Can Town’ is a stunning project. For those who don’t know about it, please tell us a little more about it as well as what inspired it.
In 2007, I worked in Cape Town as a photographer for the South African newspaper Die Burger. At that time the country was preparing for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. One day, I did a story about the homeless people who gathered around Greenpoint Stadium every day. They were not wanted there, and rumours were spreading that the government was making plans to ‘clean’ the hosting cities in 2010, to keep all the ‘unwanted’ (homeless, street vendors, beggars, children) out of sight of the World Cup visitors. I wondered how this would be done. Later that year I began a photo series about the World Cup. It was not specifically about football, but rather about the consequences of the event in South Africa. That’s when I heard about Tin Can Town, aka ‘Blikkiesdorp’, near Cape Town. It was a township created by the City of Cape Town, with shiny new shacks. This temporary relocation area became the dumping ground of all the unwanted inhabitants of Cape Town. I asked around for the exact location of it and no-one could tell me. I eventually met three local boys from Khayelitsha in a youth centre, and they knew the place. Together with journalist Lotte Schuurman, we went for a visit. I’ve seen many townships, but this was a concentration camp.
You also worked on a wheelchair rugby project. Please tell us more about this.
A few months ago, I took pictures of a wheelchair rugby player from the Netherlands national team. I was quite surprised to find that there was such a sport. I was then fortunate enough to be invited to a training session. The players roll around in armoured chairs, clashing into each other and falling over without any fear. It’s quite an exciting sport. I photographed the Dutch team taking part in different tournaments in France, Denmark and finally the European Championships in Switzerland. In January, I have an exhibition in a rehabilitation centre in Amsterdam. Click here to view more
What are you working on at the moment and what are your hopes for the future?
At the moment, I’m doing a lot of assignment work (to pay my bills), lots of portraits and magazine photography. I’m also organising more wheelchair rugby exhibitions. I hope that more rehabilitation centres will want to exhibit the series. I have huge respect for the wheelchair for these sports men, I want them to become an example for other disabled people who struggle to adapt to their handicapped life.
What advice would you give to our young budding photographers in South Africa looking to do what you do?
Show your work, even if you feel you are not ready. For example, there is a fashion project I’m working on and it’s totally new to me. I’m pretty satisfied with the result so far, but I have no idea whether I have made some terrible mistakes that I don’t see. So it’s causing me a bit of stress. But there’s nothing better than collecting criticism and using it constructively.
Where can the readers view more of your work? (Also supply your twitter and anything else)