Mack Magagane was born in Soweto, Johannesburg in 1990. In 2010 he was awarded the Tierney Fellowship, and attended the Market Photo Workshop under the mentorship of practitioner and academic Jo Ratcliffe.
Introduced to photography by his sister in 2008, Magagane’s first project Light Hours (2009), displays an early interest in the construction of the built environment and its subsequent effect on the psyche of South Africa’s urban populous. “I’m fascinated by the rapid infrastructural, social, economical and political change within Johannesburg,” he told The Leica Camera Blog, “[…] I try then to find the in-between[…]”
In his work the process of inhabiting the city becomes paramount. The act of getting to know one’s environment, walking through the streets at night, setting yourself up for a potential photograph, all of these elements play out and help to create a portrait of a people and place that is both real and imagined.
This approach to both photographic process and subject is perhaps best encapsulated in the catalogue for his 2012 exhibition …in this city, held at ROOM gallery, Johannesburg in 2012, a product of his time spent at Market Photo Workshop: “… in this city seeks the incidental: an illuminated figure in a window, a car passing on a dark road, momentary encounters in transitory spaces. These intimate observations are the stuff of ordinary everyday life as it unfolds in a city that is constantly reforming and redefining itself. But in these isolated vignettes, fragments of untold stories or dreams even, the usual narratives of Johannesburg, conjure up an elusive city, one that is as much imaginary as it may be real.”
Select solo exhibitions include Somewhere Between Here at the ROOM Gallery (Johannesburg, South Africa: 2014); …in this city at the Photo Workshop Gallery (Johannesburg, South Africa: 2012). Magagane has also exhibited in the following group exhibitions: Living Just Enough at BRUNDYN (Cape Town, South Africa: 2014); the Nordic Light International Festival of Photography (Kristiansund, Norway: 2014); Blombos .tot. Rooibos at YGREC (Paris, France: 2014); South Africa season at La Chamber (Strasbourg: 2013); La Maison Rouge (Paris, France: 2013); In the Night I Remember at Stevenson Gallery (Johannesburg, South Africa: 2013); as well as The Loom of the Land at Stevenson Gallery, Johannesburg: 2013).
In 2013 Magagane won the Centre Photographiqie d’Ile-de-France Residency in Paris, as part of the French-South African season, and that same year was included in Mail & Guardian’s 200 Young South Africans Induction. In 2011 he was awarded the ACT ImpACT Award for Visual Arts.