Bang-Bang Club

Bang-Bang Club

The Bang-Bang Club was a name primarily associated with four photographers active within the townships of South Africa during the Apartheid period, particularly between 1990 and 1994, from when Nelson Mandela was released from jail to the 1994 elections. Kevin Carter, Greg Marinovich, Ken Oosterbroek, and Joao Silva were the four main men associated with the name, although a number of photographers and photojournalists worked alongside them (such as James Nachtwey and Gary Bernard).

The name ‘Bang-Bang Club’ was born out of an article published in the South African magazine ‘Living.’ Originally named the ‘Bang-Bang Paparazzi,’ it was changed to ‘Club’ because the members felt the word paparazzi misrepresented their work. The name comes from the culture itself; township residents spoke to the photographers about the ‘bang-bang’ in reference to violence occurring within their communities, but more literally, ‘bang-bang’ refers to the sound of gunfire and is a colloquial form of nomenclature used by conflict photographers.

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