Commonplace
By Tamsyn Adams and Sophie Feyder
Fourthwall books, 2016
ISBN 978-0-9922263-8-1
Hard cover, full colour
204 pages, 254 x 216 mm
In its presentation of private images from two very different family photo collections, this unusual book highlights the small details—the commonplaces—of everyday life often forgotten in the larger narrative of South African history. The Ngilima collection is the combined work of Ronald Ngilima and his son Thorence, ambulant black photographers who photographed life in the African, coloured and Indian neighbourhoods around Benoni, east of Johannesburg, in the 1950s. The Drummond-Fyvie collection belongs to a white, English-speaking farming family from Estcourt in KwaZulu-Natal, covering 150 years of the family’s history. Commonplace began as two separate research projects in which Feyder and Adams were considering the importance of private photographs for understanding the past and our relationship to it. Dwelling on the quiet, non-sensational, everyday stories taking place at the margins of—even in spite of—the ‘struggle narrative’, this book invites us to acknowledge and appreciate the commonplaces and to reconsider the ways in which we interpret such images and the histories they suggest.
Role: Book designer, publisher. 
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