We chat to The PH Centre, a photographic gallery and bookstore in Cape Town committed to presenting work that is meaningful and reflects the diverse and nuanced voice of Africa.
Tell us about the PH Centre Photo Gallery & Bookstore and why you decided to start a photographic gallery and bookstore?
PH Centre is the brainchild and long cherished dream of owner, Pieter Badenhorst. Through his own photographic practice, his experience as a lecturer, and his many trips to the International Photo Centre in New York, Pieter was inspired to open a dedicated Photo Centre, Gallery and Bookstore in Cape Town, South Africa.
Can you please elaborate on the history of the space?
PH Centre has been around for three years, officially opening for business in 2016. We have been lucky to have showcased some of the best photographers in the country, while also having the joy of presenting and nurturing new, emerging talent.
What sort of photography do you showcase?
Our choices are informed by our belief in presenting work that is meaningful and reflects the diverse and nuanced voice of Africa. We look for work that falls into the parameters of art-photography, and that speaks to social and cultural interpretations of our shared experience. We are open and committed to growing our understanding and sensitivity around the subjects of representation, and to question historical values, and practices.
How do you choose which photographers to showcase?
We put good photography ahead of all other considerations. It is central for us to work with people who demonstrate a deep commitment to their careers and who are constantly honing their skills.
When looking to collaborate with artists, do you favor emerging or more established photographers?
We like to work with both emerging and established photographers. Younger artists benefit from sharing gallery space with recognized photographers, while established practitioners benefit from the new following and energy that emerging photographers bring with them.
What do you hope to achieve with the space?
Our aim is to continue to create a place of value, that serves the photographic community. To provide opportunities for dialogue, an informal meeting place where the public and photographers can gather information, buy books and magazines, and generally shoot the breeze.
Who would you name as current photographers to watch/invest in as a collector?
Our current exhibition, Foreign Nationals, by Aldo Brincat is receiving a lot of attention from local and international art buyers. Other photographers to watch are Kyle Weeks, Noncedo Gxekwa, Meghan Daniels, Johno Mellish to name a few.
You stock an extensive collection of photographic publications, what are some of your favorites and why?
Aperture, FOAM, and SOURCE magazines always offer insightful and well researched articles, while PDN, is a highly respected industry publication that looks at the more commercial aspect of photography. We stock books on a range of different photographers and styles; titles published by MACK books are popular for their renowned, and highly specific aesthetic.
What exhibits, and activities can we look forward to seeing in the future?
Internationally, contemporary art photography, is the fastest growing facet of the art market, we expect that trend to mirror itself in South Africa too. With that in mind we will continue showcasing exciting homegrown talent while assisting collectors and investors in discovering new opportunities in the local market. We are also collaborating with various stakeholders to produce workshops that expand and support the development of the industry as a medium of art.