Aperture Foundation is pleased to release a new limited-edition photograph by Daniel Naudé. For the past two years Naudé has focused on photographing cattle in societies where these animals are revered and venerated. This is a position far removed from the Western world where they are mostly seen as productive sources of milk, meat and skins. Naudé first photographed the Ankole cattle in Uganda, renowned for their majestic horns which ideally curve out and then inward, forming a shape like a lyre. In the days before Christianity arrived in this part of Africa, the Bahima people made offerings of milk to herdsman gods, and their language has many names for cattle that describe their characteristics. Even now, the keepers of these animals live pastoral lives, their culture deeply rooted in these cattle. The survival of the Ankole is at the heart of cultural and economic debates about indigenous African values and symbolism versus a Western emphasis on commercial concerns.


In his portraits of cattle, Naudé brings into our time the long tradition of depicting the natural world with its rich references to classification and comparison. In many respects, this tradition faded in the 20th century because there were very few lands and creatures left to classify as the world had been mapped and the animals of the world named. The heightened presence of the animals in his images allows us to experience the awe and wonder that accompanied the reception of images and reports of exotic animals when they reached Europe in previous centuries. Yet, those images were invariably composites - drawings brought together elements that were unlikely in reality to be seen in the same frame. In our present day, the wide use of Photoshop continues the use of multiple images to create a single, often unusual image. In Naudé's case however, within a single photographic frame, he inexplicably captures a strong presence of the animal, usually in a sculptural pose, set within an apt descriptive landscape, and lit naturally, despite having very little control over all these elements. Thus the images seemingly defy reality and heighten the sacred status of the cattle. When seeing them for the first time, after an initial wonderment at the animal's presence, the mind grapples with the understated improbability of the image and is compelled to look again and again for clues to its composition. Work from Naudé's previous series was featured in Aperture Magazine Summer Issue 207.


Daniel Naudé will have selected work on the exhibition In Focus: Animalia at The J. Paul Getty Museum which will open on the 26 May and runs until 18 October 2015. Daniel Naudé was born in 1984 in Cape Town, where he continues to live. He graduated with a BA Visual Arts from the University of Stellenbosch in 2007. Naudé had solo exhibitions at Stevenson Cape Town and Johannesburg (2011, 2010 and 2014) and showed selected photographs from Animal Farm in the print room at The Photographers' Gallery in London (2013). Group shows include Chroma (Cape Town) and The Loom of the Land (Johannesburg), at Stevenson in 2014 and 2013; Artist House, New Art Centre, Wiltshire (2014); Apartheid and After at Huis Marseille, Amsterdam (2014); the Aardklop National Arts Festival, Potchefstroom (2012); Neither Man Nor Stone at the Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town (2012); Lagos Photo Festival, Nigeria (2011); Bamako Encounters African Photography Biennial, Mali (2011); Greatest Hits of 2007 at the AVA Gallery, Cape Town (2011); Breaking News: Contemporary photography from the Middle East and Africa, works from the collection of the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Modena, in Modena, Italy (2010); and PEEKABOO - Current South Africa at the Tennis Palace Art Museum, Helsinki (2010). He took part in the Fall 2011 residency programme at Anderson Ranch in Aspen, Colorado. His first book, Animal Farm, has been published by Prestel (2012).

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