Sunday, October 9, 2011


Permanent Error, an exhibition of photographs by the South African born Pieter Hugo, is currently on display at Yossi Milo Gallery. In this series Hugo photographed a technology hardware dumpsite, Agbogbloshie Market, in Ghana along with the locals that work there who burn the waste and extract the metals for profit.

Each of the digital c-prints, which vary in size from 68”x68” to 47”x87,” hang in perfect arrangement on the walls of Yossi Milo. The colors in the photographs are muted with disrupting pops of color from the burning fires and the clothes worn by the workers. This bleak landscape is a reminder of the waste Western culture generates and the impact it has on a less fortunate environment. What was most captivating about the work was the confronting gaze of each subject that pierces through the smoke.

The most striking image is of a young boy named Abdulai Yahaya, a worker at the market. His hands show signs of wear from working under harsh conditions. His clothes are soiled and worn from the ash and dirt he comes into contact with while sifting through debris. His sweat gleams from the sun that is diffused through the clouds of smoke he breathes in. The cautious look in his eyes reveals the unease he felt around Hugo and his camera.

These immaculate photographs blur the line between documentary, journalism and “art” photography due to the posed nature of these portraits taken of a harsh reality.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. this is in response to macey's post. for some reason, it would not let me leave a comment.


    your introductory sentence is slightly awkward. i would consider rewording it. i like how you use the word sublime in your description of the work. I would like you to go more into that and why you see the work that way. Maybe relate it sublime paintings of the 18th century.

    the description of the color palette is well written and flows nicely. i would stray away from using harmonious twice. it's in the last paragraph as well as the 2nd paragraph. with such a short review, you don't want to repeat yourself. your conclusion brings it together well because you're relating it to your life. also talking about culture is an important part of this work. consider writing a little bit more about that in the 2nd paragraph instead of just mentioning at the end.