History of Art


Julie Bonzon



Identity in protest: The Market Photo Workshop and the new generation of South African photographers

My research aims to analyse the ways in which notions of identity, social belonging and 'essentiality' are being addressed and critically engaged by a generation of photographers from the Market Photo Workshop, which grew up just before or after apartheid. Based in Newtown in Johannesburg, The Market Photo Workshop was founded in 1989 by the acclaimed documentary photographer David Goldblatt and has reflected upon South African political struggles and socio-cultural changes since the date of its creation. Designed as a mentorship system to facilitate collaboration between a young student and a renowned photographer, the photographic series at the heart of my enquiry are the result of 'generational' and photographic negotiations. While questioning the content of self-presentation through their works, these young photographers challenge the so-called notion of being 'born frees' by visually reflecting on memory, heritage and intersectionality. Considering the socio-political climate in which those series operate, my research aims to uncover the multi-faceted character of freedom and rebellion in South African youth culture. 

This PhD project is fully funded by the London Arts and Humanities Partnership (AHRC) and supervised by Professor Tamar Garb.


Diploma of Preparatory Studies for Colleges of Art and Design - Photography (ECAL, Lausanne, Switzerland)

BA History of Art and Social Sciences (Université de Lausanne, Switzerland) First

MA History of Art (Courtauld Institue of Art, London, UK) Distinction


Telling Time, 10th Bamako Biennial, description and critical analysis of George Mahashe Tebogo's MaBareBare/Telling Time, Simon Gush's Sunday Light, Lebohang Kganye's Ke LefaLaka: Her-Story and Heir-Story and Jean-Euloge Samba's Le Temps et l'Imprudence, in French and in English, Kehrer Verlag Heidelberg Berlin, 2015.

The Eye of Photography, London-based photography exhibition reviews. Please find Julie Bonzon's reviews here

'Sipho Gonxeka's Skeem' Saka: Composing Masculinity and Protest in Contemporary Soweto' in Object, n.20, January 2019


'Sipho Gongxeka's Skeem Saka and the composite of South African youth culture', Postgraduate Research Seminar, UCL, 1 June 2017.

'Noise: the re-materialization of the digital in Phumzile Khanyile's photographic series Plastic Crown (2015-2016)' in Agile Objects: The Art and Anthropology of Re-materialization, Clore Centre, British Museum, 1-3 June 2018.

'Photographic disruptions of womanhood and domesticity in South Africa' in Noise, Octagon Forum, IAS, UCL. Event co-organised with Elizabeth Went (Supported by the Faculties of Arts and Humanities and Social and Historial Sciences). 29 June 2018

'Towards new photographic narratives? Showcasing the work of three young South African photographers: Musa Nxumalo, Lebohang Kganye and Phumzile Khanyile' in Photography, With or Without Capitalism, L'Institut National d'Histoire de l'Art (INHA), Paris. 19 December 2018

'Composing masculinity and rebellion in Sipho Gongxeka's Skeem' Saka (2013-2014)' in the 18th International Conference of Association RIdIM (Répertoire International d'Iconographie Musicale), Canterbury Christ Church University, 9-12 July 2018.


'The Market Photo Workshop and the new Generation of South African photographers' (MA level), guest lecturer in the course 'Race/Place, Exotic/Erotic: Difference and Desire in Modernist and Contemporary Art Practice' led by Professor Tamar Garb, UCL, 6 February 2019

'Protest: Activism and Counter-Representation in South African Photography', six-week course at The Photographers' Gallery, London, 14 January-18 February 2019

'History of European Art: Renaissance to Contemporary' (BA level) Teaching assistant to Dr Allison Stielau, UCL, 9 January-20 March 2019

Research activities

Co-organiser (with Elizabeth Went) of 'Noise', Octagon Friday Forum, IAS, UCL, 15 June 2018. (supported by the Faculties of Arts & Humanities and Social & Historical Sciences)


LAHP Study Visit and Conference Fund. Study visit to Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa, 1-28 February 2018.

Research Interests

postcolonialism, photography theory, youth culture, structuralism, the globalisation of contemporary art.