Guy Tillim

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Guy Tillim (born 1962) is a South African photographer known for his work focusing in on troubled regions of Sub-Saharan Africa. His photographs and projects have been exhibited internationally and form the basis of several of Tillim's published books.

A member of the country's white minority, Tillim was born in Johannesburg in 1962.[1] He first became professionally involved in photography as a photojournalist in 1986, working with the Afrapix collective, a group of South African documentary photographers providing a unique conduit of photography to world media during apartheid.[1][2] During much of this time he worked as a freelance photographer for both local and foreign media, including Reuters (1986 to 1988) and Agence France Press (1993 to 1994).[1]

The website African Success has described him as one of South Africa's "foremost photographers",[2] whilst the Daily Maverick site has referred to him as "arguably SA's finest photographer" after David Goldblatt.[1]


Title Year Publisher ISBN Description
Jo'burg 2001 STE Publishers 978-2350460147 A series of photographs taken in and around Tillim's native city of Johannesburg.
Departure 2003 Michael Stevenson Contemporary
Kunhinga Portraits 2003 Michael Stevenson Contemporary A series of photographs taken in the town of Kunhinga, a part of the Angolan province of Bie, featuring portraits of displaced Angolans fleeing government forces in February 2002, during the final months of the Angolan Civil War.
Leopold and Mobuto 2004 Filigranes Editions 978-2914381913
Petros Village 2006 Punctum Press A series of photographs documenting daily life over a two-week period in the village of Petros, central Malawi.
Congo Democratic 2006 Renate Wiehager, Michael Stevenson and Galleria Extraspazio A photojournal of the events surrounding the contested presidential election held in the Democratic Republic of Congo in July 2006, during which supporters of the incumbent Joseph Kabila clashed with those of Etinenne Tshisikedi.
Avenue Patrice Lumumba 2008 Prestel 978-3791340661 A series of photographs taken in Mozambique, DR Congo, Madagascar, Angola and Benin during 2007/8 and collected together with introductions by both Tillim and Robert Gardner.
Roma, Città di Mezzo 2009 Punctum Press 978-8895410296 A series of photographs taken in and around the capital city of Rome in Italy, originally commissioned for the international Roman photography festival, FotoGrafia.
Second Nature 2012 Prestel 978-3791346908


Tillim has received many awards for his work including the Prix SCAM (Societe Civile des Auteurs Multimedia) Roger Pic in 2002, the Higashikawa Overseas Photographer Award (Japan) in 2003, and the 2004 DaimlerChrysler Award for South African photography. In 2005 he won the Leica Oskar Barnack Award for his Jo'burg series. The prize was awarded at the Rencontres Internationales de la Photographie in Arles, France, in July 2005. The Jo'burg series has been published in book form by Filigranes Editions and STE. His Petros Village series was exhibited at the Museo di Roma in Trastevere, Rome, as part of the Rome Photo Festival 2006 [...] Tillim has been awarded the first Robert Gardner Fellowship in Photography by the Peabody Museum at Harvard University. In recent months, his work has been exhibited at the São Paulo Bienal; on SLUM: Art and life in the here and now of the civil age at the Neue Galerie in Graz; on Photography, Video, Mixed Media III at the DaimlerChrysler Gallery in Berlin; and on Africa Remix, which travels to the Johannesburg Art Gallery in 2007. His work is included in Vitamin Ph (Phaidon, 2006). He currently has solo exhibitions at Extraspazio, Rome, until 21 April, and the Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg, until 10 February 2007. His work is also included on FotoGrafia – Rome's International Festival in the group exhibition Non Tutte Le Strade Portano a Roma, Ex Gil (16 March – 26 April).[3][n 1]


  • The Divine Comedy. Heaven, Purgatory and Hell Revisited by Contemporary African Artists (2014) curated by Simon Njami
  • Second Nature (2011), Huis Marseille Museum for Photography, Amsterdam (2 March – 3 June 2012)
  • Congo Democratic (2006)
  • Petros Village, Malawi, 2006 (2 May – 3 June 2006)
  • Residents of Goma salute Laurent Kabila (1997; 2005 colour print)
  • Jo'burg series (2004)
  • Leopold and Mobutu (12 May – 19 June 2004)
  • Soldiers (17 June – 19 July 2003) including new images Portraits I – XVI
  • Kunhinga portraits (17 June – 19 July 2003) including new images #13–16
  • Departure (17 June – 19 July 2003)


  1. ^ Links in this quotation have been added for this encyclopedia entry.


  1. ^ a b c d Poplak 2011.
  2. ^ a b African Success 2007.
  3. ^ "Guy Tillim", Michael Stevenson Gallery website


External links[edit]