Graeme Williams  



In 1989 I was contracted by Reuters to cover South Africa’s transition to Democracy. Since 1994 and the first democratic elections, I have worked on my own photographic projects, at times exhibiting and publishing the completed works. These can be viewed on my personal website:

I have staged solo exhibitions in Johannesburg, New York, London and Paris and have contributed to many group exhibitions notably the 2011 Figures and Fictions exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London curated by Tamar Garb.

During 2013 I was awarded the POPCAP Prize for Contemporary African Photography as well as the Ernest Cole Book award for the series, A city refracted.

In 2014 photographs from the series, Previously significant places were included with the work of nine other South African photographers in a major exhibition showcasing contemporary South African photography at Huis Marseille in Amsterdam.

Photographic assignments have taken me to fifty countries and my photographs have been published in major publications worldwide, including National Geographic Magazine, Time, Newsweek, The New York Times Magazine and Photography magazine (UK).


  • 2013   Winner of the Ernest Cole award for the project, A city refracted, focusing on the inner city of Johannesburg.
  • 2013   POPCAP ’13 Prize for Contemporary African Photography.
  • 2011   Dali Photography Festival in China – An exhibition showcasing four South Africans won the best exhibition award.

Permanent Collections

  • The Apartheid Museum, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Cape Town University, South Africa
  • Duke University, USA
  • Finnish School of Photography, Helsinki, Finland
  • The National Museum of Africa Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC
  • Rotterdam Museum of Ethnology, The Netherlands
  • South African National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
  • University of South Africa

Corporate and Public Collections

  • BHP Billiton
  • Anglo American
  • De Beers
  • Anglo Platinum
  • Lonmin
  • Oxfam and Anti-Apartheid Movement, Belgium
  • Standard Bank

Books – Monographs and Collected Works

  • A City Refracted, Jacana Press, South Africa, 2013
  • VU’ Gallery in Paris – VU Editions Graeme Williams, 2013
  • The Edge of Town – Monograph. Graphis/Highveld Publishing, 2011
  • Graeme Williams Photographe – Editions de L’Ceil. Selection of recent work, 2010
  • The Inner City. Exploring isolation through life in Johannesburg, 2000

Local and International Photographic Book Contributions

  • A Forgotten World: The Stone Walled Settlements of the Mpumalanga Escarpments, P Delius, T Maggs, A Schoeman, Wits University Press, 2014
  • Figures and Fictions – Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2011
  • Darkroom – Photography and new Media in South Africa since 1950 – Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. 2010
  • Encounters of Bamako - African Photography Biennial – Mali, 2009
  • Beyond Beauty – Duke University, 2009
  • The Endless City – Urban Age. Phaidon, 2008
  • Then and Now: Eight South African Photographers contribute 10 images taken before the 1994 (SA’s first democratic election) and ten images post, 2008
  • Moving in Time: 10 years of South African Democracy, 2004
  • Within Reach: Hope for the Global Aids Epidemic. (Book and European traveling exhibition starting in Barcelona), 2002


  • National Geographic Magazine (USA)
  • Time Magazine (USA)
  • Newsweek Magazine (USA)
  • Stern Magazine (Germany)
  • Sunday Telegraph Magazine (UK)
  • New York Times Magazine (USA)
  • Photography Magazine (UK)
  • Marie Claire Magazine (UK)
  • The Guardian Weekend Magazine (UK)
  • Die Zeit Magazine (Germany)
  • Frank Magazine (UK)
  • Greenpeace Magazine (Germany)
  • The Australian
  • Colors Magazine (Benetton)