Durban photographer succumbs to cancer battle
TRIBUTES have been streaming in after the death of Durban photographer Peter McKenzie who died yesterday after a battle with cancer.
Fellow photographer Rajesh Jantilal said that McKenzie was a great mentor who helped many young black journalists in his time.
“It is a great loss for us. I am just in disbelief about news of Peter’s death.
“We chatted just a few weeks ago about an exhibition he was working on.
“He mentioned that he was not well, but we made plans to meet soon for an upcoming festival,” Jantilal said.
He added that McKenzie made his mark wherever he went and touched many lives.
“It is strange how we as photographers do not take many photographs of other photographers, but I remember recently capturing a photo- graph of Peter with friends. They were laughing at a joke. He will be dearly missed by those who knew him,” Jantilal said.
Niren Tolsi, a journalist, described McKenzie as a dear friend, an elder and a mentor.
“He was a sounding board, a collaborator, a drinking partner and a co-conspirator on projects and ideas. Peter loved music, jazz especially.
“He was someone who smiled with all his heart, and a brother who made photographs with the depth of his intellect,” said Tolsi, adding that McKenzie had a sense of justice and a curiosity for the present.
Tolsi collaborated with McKenzie on The Con-Struction cartel exhibition, which investigated the effects of pollution and corporate collusion on communities in Durban’s South Basin, in areas such as Wentworth and Merebank.
Commenting on McKenzie’s work, Tolsi said he was always driven by his curiosity to peel away the layers of life and the living politics to reveal these with all their nuances.
“His lens, during apartheid and all the way through to a democratic South Africa, was always trained on socio-political injustice, whether humanising the gangsters he grew up with in the exhibition Vying Posie, or his work in 80s South Africa during the state of emergency,” he said.
McKenzie was born in Durban and studied photography at the Durban University of Technology (formerly known as Technikon Natal). He co-founded the photography collective agency Afrapix and was the chief photographer at Drum Magazine before he went into freelancing.
McKenzie, who is survived by a son, exhibited a number of his personal photography projects.
Tributes are pouring in for Durban photographer Peter McKenzie, who died yesterday.