n Image & Text : a Journal for Design - Billy Monk : love in a loveless time

Volume 21, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1020-1491



The story of Billy Monk is in parts inspiring, tragic, chastening, and challenging. Achieving posthumous fame and international provenance, Monk's photographs reveal a striking lacuna in the image repertoire of South African photography. All too human, Monk's life is the stuff of legend. However, it is Monk's photographic eye which is the primary focus of this first sustained critical study of the artist's . My thesis is that Monk's work embodies a prosaic tenderness and honesty that is rare in a society - overdetermined by the legacies of colonialism and apartheid - in which human life has largely been re-presented through a pathological and spectacularised optic. His work captures love in a time of lovelessness.

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