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image and caption by
Jodi Bieber

Namaqualand daisies.

I don’t like photojournalism. I am tired of the photojournalistic language; that´s why I am not listening. So I am generally ignoring all kinds of photojournalistic output. To put it simply: you have to tag me as being ignorant when it comes to this genre.

While being occupied with Helen van Meene´s and Loretta Lux images, I stumbled over Jodi Biebers photographs and ordered her book “Between Dogs and Wolves.”
It’s a tiny book, lovingly and thoughtfully made. The photographs always are printed on a double spread, and big enough to enjoy, the sequencing is fine and thoughtful, and the accompanying texts are on the point.

Both Biebers photographs and texts are touching me. Though it were her photographs that caught my attention, I really think it’s the captions that finally made me to quit my distance. They are essential for the story that is told here, a painful story about the painful reality of children and youth living on the edge in South Africa.

In comparison: Helen van Meene images tell nothing about the reality of being a child. They are talking about her idea how it is to be a child. Her vision is a nostalgic look back to childhood softening the pain of being a grown up. An exercise in beauty, remedy for our hurt souls.

I am going back a step, gaining back the distance I felt towards the images of these two women before: respecting their work, admiring certain, very different qualities, but having reservations.