Graeme Williams B&W crop


Graeme Williams initially worked as an acclaimed press and freelance photographer in South Africa and London. From 1989, he covered the end of apartheid in South Africa and the transition to democracy for Reuters. From 1991, he was a member of Afrapix, a progressive photographers’ collective that played a crucial role in exposing the truth during this contested period of strict censorship. With other Afrapix photographers, he later founded and managed South Photographs Agency. He continues to work on both commissioned and personal projects in South Africa and internationally. Assignments have taken him to more than forty countries. Graeme Williams has had solo exhibitions in New York, Paris, and Johannesburg, and has participated in over thirty group exhibitions. Williams’s work has been widely published in such leading magazines as The New York Times MagazineNational GeographicTimeNewsweekSternDie Zeit Magazine, and Photography (UK), and in many books on photography, including Then and Now, a 2008 book, film, and exhibition that saluted eight South African photographers who contributed to South Africa’s photographic heritage, both before and after the 1994 transition to democracy. Three books on his photography have been published. The Floor (1996) documents the last year of open outcry trading on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. The Inner City (2000) explores social isolation as Johannesburg struggled to adjust to political changes. The Paris art publisher Editions de l’Œil released a monograph of his recent work in 2010. His work is in collections in the United States, Europe, and South Africa. 



Marking Time/As the Grass Grows, Art First, London
A City Refracted, UCT Irma Stern Museum, Cape Town, South Africa, KZNSA Gallery, Durban, Wits Art Museum, Johannesburg

A curated collection of images from bodies of work produced over 25 years. VU’ Galerie, Paris

Singapore International Photography Festival
Noorderlicht Photography Festival. Holland
Mois de la Photo Painting over the Present

A selection of works, Kijk Gallery, Paris

A selection of works. Photo-off, Paris. 

The Edge of Town, Axis Gallery, New York 

The Edge of Town, Artspace, Johannesburg

Hard Ground, University of Cape Town, commissioned permanent exhibition 

Dreamtime in Breathless Spaces, Bonani Festival of Photography and Museum Africa, Johannesburg
Photographs from a collection of personal work, Photo ZA Gallery, Johannesburg

Hlabisa Portraits, 6th Wonca World Congress of Family Doctors, Durban (AIDS orphans and HIV-positive children)
Two Dogs, Stellenbosch, South Africa, and at Walking the Streets project, Cape Town
The Inner City. Africana Museum, Johannesburg, and Natal Society of Arts (NSA) Gallery, Durban, South Africa  

The Inner City, Emmarentia Botanic Garden, Johannesburg (exhibition following book launch) 


Unmasked. Axis Gallery, New York
Art/Africa: Le nouvel atelier. Being There. Foundation Louis Vuitton Paris, France. April 26 – August 28, 2017
A Short History of South African Photography. Fotografia Europea, Reggio Emilia, Italy. Organised by the Fondazione Palazzo Magnani. Curated by Rory Bester, Thato Mogotsi and Rita Potenza

Contemporary and Historical African Photography in Dialogue. Photobastei, Zürich, Switzerland. December 2, 2016 – January 22, 2017

Art Photo Budapest, Axis Gallery
Earth Matters: Land as Material and Metaphor in the Arts of Africa organized by Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Washington D.C. at Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, ME. 15 October 2015 to 6 March 2016
A short film featuring A city refracted, was chosen for the Rencontres de la Photographie festival, Arles, France. 2015

Aperture Summer OpenAperture Foundation, New York
Earth Matters: Land as Material and Metaphor in the Arts of Africa Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Washington D.C. April 22, 2013-January 5, 2014. Opens at the Fowler Museum at UCLA, CA, April 23 – Sept. 14, 2014

Piclet’s POPCAP ’13. Prize for Contemporary African Photography exhibition. Exhibited at Basel Switzerland, PhotoIreland in Dublin, Ireland and Lagos Photo Festival in Lagos, Nigeria

Rise and Fall of Apartheid: Photography and the Bureaucracy of Everyday Life, the International Center of Photography, New York, from September 14, 2012–January 6, 2013 to HAUS DER KUNST, Munich, Germany, February 15 – May 26,  2013 and Museum Afrika, Johannesburg, from February, 12 – June 29, 2014

Two Dogs. Angkor Photo Festival, Cambodia
Focus11: Contemporary Art Africa.  Basel, Switzerland
The Big Show: Dali International Photography Exhibition, Dali, Hunnan Province, China
A selection of works. Photo-off, Paris
A selection of works. Ile de Re, France
Figures & Fiction: Contemporary South African Photography, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK
DARKROOM: South African Photography and New Media 1950-Present, Birmingham Museum of Art, Alabama

Dark Room: South African Photography and New Media 1950-Present, Fall 2009, Virginia Museum of Fine Art, Richmond, Virginia.
Bamako Biennale, Mali
Change of Tone. Exhibition of Contemporary South African Photography. Sydney, Australia
8th Bamako Encounters. African Photography Biennial 

Beyond Beauty: Photographs from Duke University Special Collection Library
Then and Now (exhibition, book and film), Cape Town, Durban, and Johannesburg, South Africa, Melbourne and Brisbane, Australia
The Gunshot Show, Smithfield and Johannesburg, South Africa
Then and Now. Change of Tone (South African photography), Sydney, Australia

Hlabisa Aids Orphans, at “Positive” event, Sun City, South Africa

Imprints, Axis Gallery, New York 

Inside AIDS, (AIDS in South Africa), travelled to Antwerp, Brussels, and Chicago
Nicaraguan images, Obsess exhibition, PhotoZA Gallery, Johannesburg
Moving in Time, exhibition and book, traveling throughout Europe
Dreamtime in Breathless Spaces (video presentation), Biennial International – Fotofreo, Freemantle, Australia
City and Country, Axis Gallery, New York

Noorderlight Photo Event, Groningen, Netherlands

Hlabisa Aids Orphans (selection from the photo essay), Khomani Exhibition and Within Reach Exhibition, Barcelona Aids Conference, Barcelona, Spain
Shooting Resistance: South African Photography 1976-1994, Axis Gallery, New York

Picture Essay Documentary Award and Exhibition, travelled to all major South African cities

Aids Orphans, Urban Futures Exhibition, Johannesburg
Johannesburg Urban Futures, projection of slides from The Inner City, Johannesburg 

A South Photographs Collective Exhibition, Area Gallery, Cape Town
X-Scape. Shuttle 99, Finnish School of Photography, Helsinki, Finland; traveled to Durban, Johannesburg, and Cape Town, South Africa
The Mask: A South Photographs retrospective, Michaelis Gallery, Cape Town, and Ben   Susan Museum of   Photography, Museum Africa, Johannesburg
Images Imaging Imagination, 100xC Photography in South Africa, Scan Shop, Cape Town

A Shifting Landscape, Rotterdam Museum of Ethnology, Netherlands

Beyond the handshake, Oxfam and Anti-Apartheid Movement Permanent Collection, Brussels, Belgium 

Nikon/Flying Springbok Travel Photo of the Year Exhibition, 2nd Prize, Johannesburg
Jo’burg City, Who’s City?, IDASA Exhibition, Johannesburg Art Gallery, Johannesburg

Sacred Heart House: Aids Hospice, The Market Theatre, Johannesburg

Ivan Toms: Conscientious Objector, End Conscription Campaign Exhibition, Cape Town


The Last Chief, shortlisted for Bob’s Books Photo Book Award

Diverging Dreamlines. One of four Best of 7th Annual Photobook Show, Davis Orton Gallery, Hudson, NY 

The Europeans shortlisted for Arles (France) and the Kassel (Germany) dummy book awards.

Winner of the Ernest Cole award for the project, A City Refracted, focusing on the inner city of Johannesburg
POPCAP ’13 Prize for Contemporary African Photography.

Dali Photography Festival in China – An exhibition showcasing four South Africans won the best exhibition award.


Smithsonian National Museum of African Art, Washington D.C., USA
North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh, NC
Museum of Fine Art, St Petersburg, FL
University of South Africa, Pretoria
Cape Town University, South Africa
Duke University, Durham, NC, USA
The Apartheid Museum, Johannesburg, South Africa
Finnish School of Photography, Helsinki, Finland
Rotterdam Museum of Ethnology, Holland
South African National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
Oxfam and Anti-Apartheid Movement, Belgium
BHP Billiton
Anglo American
De Beers
Anglo Platinum
Standard Bank


A city refracted. published by Jacana Media (Ernest Cole Award).

VU Editions: Graeme Williams. VU’ Gallery, Paris. 2013
The Edge of Town, Monograph. Graphis/Highveld Publishing. 2011.

Graeme Williams Photographe. Gary Van Wyk. Editions de L’Œil, Paris, France. 2010

The Inner City. Exploring isolation through life in Johannesburg. 2000.

The Floor. A book documenting the last year of open outcry trading on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. 1996.


Apartheid and After  – Contemporary South African Photography. Huis Marseille. 2014.

The World Atlas of street Photography. Thames and Hudson publication. 2014

Figures & Fiction: Contemporary South African PhotographyVictoria 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, Durham, NC. 2009

The Endless City, Urban Age, Phaidon. 2008

Then and Now, (eight South African Photographers each contribute ten images taken before, and ten after, South Africa’s first democratic election in 1994). 2008

Moving in Time. Ten years of South African Democracy.  2004

Within Reach. Hope for the Global Aids Epidemic. (Book and European traveling exhibition starting in Barcelona). 2002