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Magubane's photo copied without permission

By unknown | Aug 29, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Edward Tsumele

Edward Tsumele

Celebrated South African photographer Peter Magubane is embroiled in a bitter row with artist Magou Blanchard.

At the centre of the row is a painting of a Ndebele woman clad in regalia and adorned several neck rings.

The picture hanging in Whizzbang Creative Studio, is a carbon copy of a picture the veteran photographer published in his book Amandebele, in 2005.

The painting by artist Blanchard carries a price tag of R4100.

"This is totally wrong," said Magubane.

"It is unacceptable for someone to just paint my picture and sell it for a fortune, without asking for permission.

"I now start to wonder how many of my photos have been sold by this painter, because he is also selling the same picture on the Internet," an irate Magubane told Sowetan.

Blanchard yesterday admitted that the picture he had titled Ndebele Woman was indeed a painted version of a photograph taken by Magubane.

He claimed, however, that he had painted the picture from the front page of National Geographic.

Magubane had been commissioned by National Geographic in 1994 to do a photo essay on Ndebele culture, and the picture was published on the front cover of the prestigious magazine in 1996.

"I did not ask permission from him because I took it from a magazine. I did not know that the same picture had been published in a book. I will call him to apologise. I know the photographer very well," said a surprised Blanchard.

Magubane, who became famous for taking pictures for Drum magazine in the 1950s and for his images of the June 1976 student protests, says this is not the first time one of his photographs had made money for other people.

"I also recently discovered one of my photographs hanging in the international arrivals hall at OR Tambo International Airport, while another one is at the Cape Town International Airport's domestic arrivals hall," he said.

Magubane said what hurt him most was that he spent nearly 10 years working on his book tracing Ndebele culture, and had spent a lot of money on it.

Magubane is an award- winning photographer who has published 16 books on vanishing African cultures, holds numerous awards and an honorary doctorate from the University of South Africa.


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