Ilan Godfrey People, Editorial & Documentary ,Photographer, Cape Town, Johannesburg, South Africa, Reportage, Documentary, Corporate Social Responsibility, Social Enterprise, NGO, Charity, Commercial, Editorial, Landscape, Photographer Photography
Ilan Godfrey / Legacy of the Mine

Ilan Godfrey


About ilan

Ilan Godfrey is a South African visual artist documenting the diverse social, political, economic and environmental currents that shape contemporary South Africa, giving viewers a broader, and at the same time, more deeply personal understanding of the country they live in but seldom truly gets to grips with.

For eleven years he worked between Johannesburg and London before returning to South Africa in 2011 to focus on several long-term projects. One of which would evolve into the ‘Legacy of the Mine’. An unflinching series of images set out to expose the unwanted and perhaps under-explored legacy confronting South Africa’s land and people by giving agency to those whose lives and livelihoods have been destroyed by mining processes and the long-term environmental ramifications.

This resulted in Ilan receiving the Ernest Cole Award in 2012. Legacy of the Mine (Jacana, 2013) was published as his first monograph and was launched in conjunction with solo exhibitions across South Africa.

In 2016 he continued to explore South Africa’s extractive sector by collaborating with the Open Society Foundation to produce the seminal work, ‘The Platinum Belt’. This multifaceted project incorporates narrative sound, extensive writings and a geotagged online platform accessible to a global audience and in particular the local communities directly impacted by the platinum extractive sector.

Ilan’s work has been recognized by numerous photography awards and grants here at home and abroad and exhibited in prestigious galleries and museums worldwide, including the National Portrait Gallery (London, UK), Iziko South African National Gallery (Cape Town, SA), Wits Art Museum (Johannesburg, SA), Musée du quai Branly (Paris, France), Everard Read Gallery (Johannesburg, SA) and most recently at the Völklinger Hütte World Heritage Site (Völklingen, Germany). Works from Ilan’s oeuvre are held in private and public collections globally.

His writing and photographic documentation on issues related to mining, the South African landscape and its people have been cited in various research papers and his photographs are regularly published in a broad range of leading international publications including, The New Yorker, Le Monde Magazine, ZEIT Magazine, The Sunday Times Magazine, Guardian Weekend Magazine and the Financial Times Magazine.

Aside from his editorial work he collaborates with institutions and organizations worldwide, working on commissions for global brands including, The Open Society Foundation, CARE International, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The MasterCard Foundation, Barclays Bank, VISA Card, The Toyota Mobility Foundation and GlaxoSmithKline. This has afforded him the opportunity to travel to more than fifty countries where he has worked in some of the most remote regions on the planet.

He holds a BA (Hons) degree in Photography from the University of Westminster in London, England and was awarded the David Faddy Scholarship to continue his studies, receiving an MA degree in Photojournalism.



In this visual narrative of untold stories, award-winning photographer Ilan Godfrey explores the consequences of mining on South Africa’s land and people. His images bring to life the forgotten communities that the mining industry has left behind, and his subjects thus become symbols of the struggle for environmental and social justice throughout the country. Ilan Godfrey delves deeper into the effects of the mine on local communities.

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