The selection of photographs by Jo Ractliffe in this volume were made between 1985 and 2019, and come from many places: South Africa, from the Great Karoo to Gauteng and Limpopo provinces to Zimbabwe in the north, and from the Western Cape, up the coast to Namibia and Angola. The dialogue between Ractliffe’s images and Zadie Smith’s parable is simultaneously a forthright and subtle commentary on injustice and imbalances of power. Together, they work to displace familiar narratives of violence and unsettle clichéd depictions of Africa in favor of a more nuanced interplay between the real and allegorical.
The Gould Collection is a series of books that was created to honor the memory of Christophe Crison, a photobook collector from Paris who died prematurely in 2015 at the age of forty-five. Over the past five years, since its inception, The Gould Collection editors have brought together a diverse group of photographers and writers from around the world. A shared thematic sensibility underlies the editors’ selection of the photographer-writer pairings presented in each volume.