CV Graeme Williams

P O Box 91776,
Cel: + 27+(0)82 5611574 Auckland Park,
E-Mail: 2006, Gauteng
South Africa
Website URL:


In 1989 I was contracted by Reuters to cover South Africa’s transition to ANC rule.
Since then I have worked on my own photographic projects, at times exhibiting and publishing the completed works.

My work is housed in the permanent collections of The Smithsonian (USA), The South African National Gallery, The Rotterdam Museum of Ethnology, Duke University (USA), The Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg, The Finnish School of Photography, Oxfam and Anti-Apartheid Movement in Belgium, Cape Town University.

I have staged solo exhibitions in Johannesburg, New York and Paris and have contributed to many combined exhibitions including the 2011 Figures and Fictions exhibition at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum.

During 2013 I was awarded the POPCAP Prize for Contemporary African Photography as well as the Ernest Cole Book award for the series, A city refracted.

In 2014 photographs from the series, Previously significant places were included with the work of nine other South African photographers in a major exhibition showcasing contemporary South African photography at Huis Marseille in Amsterdam. In 2014 a set of ten images from the series A City Refracted was included in the Aperture Summer Open exhibition in New York.

Six monographs of my work have been printed. The most recent is a publication produced by VU’ Gallery showcasing a selection of photographs produced during the past 25 years.

Photographic assignments have taken me to fifty countries and my photographs have been published in major publications worldwide, including National Geographic Magazine, Time, Newsweek, The New York Times Magazine and Photography magazine (UK).

Selected exhibitions/permanent collections

Solo (selected)

2015 Art First Gallery, London – two essays – Marking Time and As the grass grows.
2015 Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg – A city refracted book launch and exhibition.
2013 VU’ Galerie, Paris. A curated collection of images from bodies of work produced over 25 years.
2012 Singapore International Photography Festival.
2012 Noorderlicht Photography Festival. Holland.
2012 Mois de la Photo Painting over the Present.
2011 Kijk Gallery – Paris – Gallery opening exhibition.
2010 A selection of works Photo-off, Paris.
2009 The Edge of Town. Axis Gallery New York.
2008 The Edge of Town. Artspace, Johannesburg.
2003 Hard Ground – permanent exhibition. Commissioned by UCT and hung at the new Chemical Engineering Building. Cape Town.
2002 Dreamtime in Breathless Spaces. Bonani Festival of Photography and Museum Africa. Johannesburg.
Photographs from a collection of personal work. Photo ZA Gallery, Johannesburg
2001 Hlabisa Portraits – Aids orphans and HIV positive children. 6th Wonca World Congress of Family Doctors. Durban.
The Inner City. Africana Museum, Johannesburg.

Combined (Selected)

2015 A short film showcasing the essay, A city refracted, was chosen for the Rencontres de la photographie festival in Arles, France. 2015.
2014 Selected for the Aperture Foundation Summer Open. New York.
2014 Huis Marseille, Amsterdam. Apartheid and After – Contemporary South African Photography.
2013 Prize for Contemporary African Photography
Exhibited at Basel Switzerland, PhotoIreland in Dublin, Ireland and Lagos Photo Festival in Lagos, Nigeria.
2012 The International Centre of Photography (ICP) New York– The Rise and Fall of Apartheid.
2012 The Smithsonian (New York) – Earth Matters exhibition
2011 Dali Photography Festival in China – The Big Show portraits (Shared 1st prize Best Exhibition).
2011 Angkor Photo Festival in Cambodia – Two Dogs series.
2011 Figures and Fictions – Contemporary South African photography exhibition: Victoria and Albert Museum, The Edge of Town, London.
2010 Darkroom: Photography and New Media in South Africa since 1950 at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham.. An exhibition and catalogue.
2009 Bamako Biannale, Mali.
Beyond Beauty: Photographs from Duke University Special Collection Library. Book and exhibition
Then and Now. Exhibition, book and film. Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg in South Africa, Melbourne and Brisbane in Australia, Malmo and Norrkoping in Sweden (2008 – 1010).


2013 Winner of the Ernest Cole award for the project, A city refracted, focusing on the inner city of Johannesburg.
2013 POPCAP ’13 Prize for Contemporary African Photography.
2011 Dali Photography Festival in China – An exhibition showcasing four South Africans won the best exhibition award.

Permanent collections held at:

2011 The Smithsonian Institute (USA)
2009 University of South Africa (South Africa)
2008 Cape Town University South Africa)
2007 Duke University (USA)
2002 The Apartheid Museum (South Africa)
1999 Finnish School of Photography (Helsinki, Finland)
1997 Rotterdam Museum of Ethnology (Holland)
1994 South African National Gallery (Cape Town, South Africa)
1992 Oxfam and Anti-Apartheid Movement (Belgium)

Corporate Collections:
BHP Billiton
Anglo American
De Beers
Anglo Platinum
Standard Bank

Books – monographs and collected works

A city refracted – published by Jacana Media (Ernest Cole Award).
VU’ Gallery in Paris – VU Editions Graeme Williams.
The Edge of Town – Monograph. Graphis/Highveld Publishing. 2011.
Graeme Williams Photographe – Editions de L’Ceil. Selection of recent work. 2010
The Inner City. Exploring isolation through life in Johannesburg. 2000.

Local and international photographic book contributions – (selection)

Apartheid and After – Contemporary South African Photography.. Huis Marseille. 2014.
The World Atlas of street Photography. Thames and Hudson publication. 2014
Figures and Fictions – Victoria and Albert Museum, London. 2011
Darkroom – Photography and new Media in South Africa since 1950 – Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. 2010
Encounters of Bamako -African Photography Biennial – Mali 2009
Beyond Beauty – Duke University 2009
The Endless City – Urban Age. Phaidon. 2008
Then and Now: Eight South African Photographers contribute 10 images taken before the 1994 (SA’s first democratic election) and ten images post. 2008
Moving in Time: 10 years of South African Democracy. 2004
Within Reach: Hope for the Global Aids Epidemic. (Book and European
traveling exhibition starting in Barcelona). 2002.


National Geographic Magazine (USA), Time Magazine (USA), Newsweek Magazine (USA), Stern Magazine (Germany), Sunday Telegraph Magazine (UK) New York Times Magazine (USA), Photography Magazine (UK), Marie Claire Magazine (UK), The Guardian Weekend Magazine (UK), Die Zeit Magazine (Germany), Frank Magazine (UK), Greenpeace Magazine (Germany), The Australian, Colors Magazine (Benetton).

Artworks in the SAFFCA Collection