Ian Martin: Invisible People - Poor and White in the New South Africa

and in the back gallery, Joey L.: The Cradle of Mankind

June 11-July 23, 2011

Opening Reception: Saturday, June 11, 2011, 6-9PM


Smith Andersen North is pleased to present the work of two young, groundbreaking photographers who explore seemingly incompatible sides of modern day Africa. While working firmly within the tradition of documentary photojournalism, Ian Martin's tough but tender black & white images tell an unconventional story - that of the poor white minority living in South Africa's most destitute slums. Joey L. conversely takes the conventions of commercial photography to the field and creates a stunning portrait of the tribes of Ethiopia's Omo Valley. While his careful attention pays homage to an ancient way of life, his technical finesse skillfully exploits the tension between the past and an uncertain future.

Ian Martin was the recipient of a 2008 Getty Images Grant for Editorial Photography, which he used to pursue his project "Hidden Minority: South Africa's White Poor."  He spent over three months photographing in 2008 and 2009 in some of South Africa's poorest regions. The resulting body of work was a finalist for the "World Understanding Award" in the Premier Division of the 2010 Pictures of the Year International (POYi) competition, and led to the book, "Invisible People: Poor and White in the New South Africa." A former staff photographer for The Virginian-Pilot, Martin's images have also appeared in Newsweek, The New Yorker, Rolling Stone and many others publications worldwide. In May of 2008, Newsweek sent him to Texas and El Salvador to photograph the repatriation of 120 Salvadorans who were deported by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency.  In 2000, Martin left The Pilot to return to Northern California, where he now lives with his family.

"The people concerned were yearning for respect, battling for respect from others, and aching to respect themselves. [Ian] was rendering the invisible visible--creating awareness in our minds of elements of the dignity of others that had been covered by the imperious shrouds of their poverty. Yet something wiser and sadder than rescuing respect for down-and-out individuals emerged. The project tells us of the universality of deprivation. The new democratic South Africa neither protects nor condemns people because of their skin color."

- Albie Sachs, from the foreward to Invisible People: Poor and White in the New South Africa.
Joey L. is a young Canadian photographer and filmmaker residing in New York City whose Abyssiniaproject has won him first place in the International Photography Awards. The body of work, here titled "The Cradle of Mankind", captures a culture on the verge of extinction and features portraits of the various tribes that inhabit Ethiopia's Omo Valley.

"These exquisite images evoke in the most powerful and glorious way the place of origin of all humanity."

-Wade Davis, National Geographic Explorer

We hope you will join us at Smith Andersen North for the opening reception on Saturday, June 11, 2011 from 6-9pm.  


*Pictured Above: (Left) Ian Martin, from Invisible People, Poor & White in the New South Africa, 2008/2009.
(Right) Joey L., Portrait of Ayi Techie, from Abyssinia, 2008/2009