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SA photographer exhibits at NY's Metropolitan Museum of Art

Jo Ractliffe is currently exhibiting ‘The Aftermath of Conflict: Photographs of Angola & South Africa’ in NYC.

An image by South African photographer Jo Ractliffe, who is currently exhibiting her work, ‘The Aftermath of Conflict: Jo Ractliffe's Photographs of Angola and South Africa’ at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan.

JOHANNESBURG - South African photographer Jo Ractliffe is currently exhibiting her work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan.

Cape Town born Ractliffe has been working as a photographer for the last 30 years.

She is showing three bodies of work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York called, The Aftermath of Conflict: Jo Ractliffe's Photographs of Angola and South Africa.

She says the response to her work has been good, particularly overseas.

"Which is curious to me because I make my work for an audience here. But there's been a lot of interest in Europe and the States on this work."

While Ractliffe has worked in mainstream media, she says she's always been particularly interested in space and landscapes.

"Landscape not in the sense of picturesque beautiful images but really looking at how landscape and space speaks to the kind of violent legacies of our pasts."

She says she's always been more interested in what happens after an event took place.

"I am interested in ideas around violence, trauma and how it's manifested in the landscape."

When she first started photographing during the 80s Ractliffe says friends and colleagues were all working as social documentary photographers.

But that wasn't quite her forte.

"I never really had the capacity for the action and the moment. That [for me] was always photographing the things off scene and not the violent images."

She says she never realised that what she was interested in was what one would call the 'aftermath'.

"I was interested in the non-event, the quietness and how those moments speak rather than the moment of action."

As a message to young photographers, Ractliffe says there are many mediums to the profession.

"Really, photography is a language and not a singular discipline. It's not that you have to be a fashion photographer or an artist."

Listen as she shares her story with Cape Talk's Kieno Kammies.

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