South African Black and White Street Photography by NkadiPix
As mundane as our streets are, they hold so much that we fail to stop and admire daily. There is probably a quote you could learn from written on a brick with permanent marker and a man who sings songs that your grandmother hummed to when you were growing up. There is so much we see yet fail to take in like we do with all other mundane things; we just see ordinary in the ordinary. Our streets are not just paths that we cross to get to where we are going; they are home for someone and a place of business for another. And photographs of the moments we hardly (and would not) stop to look at are captured by South African photographer, PN Nkadimeng.
He photographs the life that breathes in the mundane. He calls part of his documentation ‘a collection of smiles on the streets of Middelburg, Mpumalanga’. Although we have never been to Middelburg Mpumalanga, by looking at the smiles documented in his photos we feel that we walked in the streets with him. We can feel the smile, we do not just see it and that is the beauty that lies in his black and white photography.
But it is not just smiles that he captures. He records stills of conversations, a second of hours of someone’s work and the things that people wake up early for, what you and I see as just people is who he portrays as a part of our South African story. He sees the extraordinary in our routine; he finds life in what feels dead.
Street photography is an important part of archival work. What PN Nkadimeng is doing is providing the future with a portal to exist within the past; to understand the daily life of the people who lived and what that looked like. It is significant ordinariness. History is not just big events, it is a story of the little events that made what we read about big. And street photography is that little moment we need to document more.