Thursday, March 10, 2011

Billy Monk: Nightclub Photographs

Billy Monk... The Balalaika, December 1969 (Silver gelatin print on fibre paper). From the exhibition Billy Monk: Nightclub Photographs at Michael Stevenson Gallery in Cape Town. "...The unusual narrative of his life and work has often been related and embellished upon, and has become entwined with our perceptions of the images. In essence, he was born in 1937, and worked as a nightclub bouncer for Les Catacombs Club in Cape Town in the late 1960s when he was around 30 years of age. He later moved to the West Coast and lived in Port Nolloth periodically until his death in 1982.
Using a Pentax camera with 35mm focal-length lens, Billy Monk photographed the nightclub revellers and sold the prints to his subjects. His close and long friendships with many of the people in the images allowed him to photograph them with extraordinary intimacy in all their states of joy and sadness. His images of nightlife seem carefree and far away from the scars and segregation of apartheid that fractured this society in the daylight."