Sydelle Willow Smith
African Photojournalism Database
Cape Town, South Africa
I was born in 1987 in Johannesburg in South Africa. I am a documentary photographer & filmmaker with a research background in Visual Anthropology. My journey with photography began at The Market Photo Workshop as a teenager. I have been learning to develop my craft, by focusing on bodies of work predominately about memory, migration and place making. Commissions have been published in various publications such as The Guardian, Le Nouvelle Observateur, The Africa Report, Le Monde, The National Geographic Traveller, and I have worked for international NGO’s such as Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and The Children’s Radio Foundation. I completed my first solo exhibition entitled Soft Walls in 2014. I worked with foreign migrants and local South Africans who were building communities of social cohesion. This series on conviviality aimed to emphasise new spaces that showcased an alternative narrative to the xenophobic widespread attacks on foreign nationals. The body of work was exhibited in galleries, and selected as the first recipient of The Gisele Wulfsohn Mentorship Grant from The Market Photo Workshop. During this period I was awarded an international arts residency award to work with African migrants on a participatory multimedia project - Vecinos - focusing on conceptions of neighbourhood in Barcelona at Jiwar. In 2015 I graduated with a Masters in African Studies, from the University of Oxford. My thesis research focused on media advocacy training in a youth based social movement in South Africa. I am interested in new media interactive technologies, that allow for broader audience engagement and new forms of advocacy to be negotiated and questioned. I am a partner in Makhulu - a production company focusing on social upliftment stories, working as a videographer, scriptwriter & director.
2014 - Gisele Wulfsohn Mentorship in Photography Grant
- Audio editing
- Video editing