As much as he won’t admit it, http://75.co.za is the South African version of Flickr. The man behind this brilliant site is Lebogang Nkoane, a very hard man to get to sit still for a moment and answer a few questions about his site, but one I managed to achieve.
So who the hell is Lebogang Nkoane?
lebogang nkoane is a computer scientist. That is the best description I have. I am fascinated mostly by how humans use computers (Human computer interaction), but being that I am a visual person: interactive media is what fascinates me, hence research and development in it (interactive media). I suppose then photography can be inferred too.
You’ve created an African flickr, which contains fresh photography from those living on this continent. What made you wake up one day and go “hey, we need this?”
An Afrikan Flickr? tjo! I wouldn’t be bold to enough to say that — but I do think 75 will grow into its own; being compared to Flickr is a complement, alas, my (afrikan) arrogance tells me, 75 should be its own, but it would take time and resources to achieve. Why did I start it? Well it all goes down to Sinah Ntholi Nkoane ; Sinah is my photo-journal, through that, I realised that every morning I would visit close to 30 photo-blogs but few from South/Africa; So 75 was created on quite a selfish want to see more photography from South/Africa. I am not sure if “we” need 75 — I know dam well that I need it — photography feeds my visual cravings.
The community has grown since I was last a member, is this a sign of coming of age for the site or just a natural progression for photography in Southern Africa?
Wow, dude, you asking me questions I am not in a position of authority to answer. Southern Africa? tjo! But hey, it has grown not in leaps and bounds, but gradually of which I like, because then we could say its a “natural progression”, I like people to interact with rather than random figments of Avatars. I’d say the progression of photography is probably fueled by the lowered barrier of access to “good-enough” photographic equipment, and the minute those who have a keen interest in photography stop “taking pictures” and try to engage through their imagery, then photography starts getting appreciated even more. (I hope I make sense).
I’ve been muttering on about the perception of Africa for a while now, is this something you feel is changing with the likes of 75.co.za pushing for a new direction?
I think so — I suppose 75 to some extent does show the world that Africa is not what is perceived by mainstream media (cue Chris Rock)— this can also be inferred from my previous answer about: barrier to entry; so the minute the people that capture their own reality and thus telling their own stories, then that will affect what is being told about Africa. But, this not to say africa is all glossy capetown-johannessburg-nightlife, there realities are still true: poverty, crime, etc; but my state of mind is: with all these “negative” things that exist in Africa, people ARE still alive and living in those environments, with some good to it; and these good things too need to exposed and shared to the world.
Who are some of your favorite African photographers currently?