The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary African Art opened to the public in Cape Town in September with an inaugural exhibition that gives a prominent place to photographic works. Museum goers are treated to a diverse presentation of photographs by contemporary African artists such as Owanto, from Gabon; Leonce Raphael Agbodjélou of Benin; Kenyan Cyrus Kabiru; Zimbabwean Kudzanai Chiurai; American-born Roger Ballen; and South Africans Zanele Muholi, Athi Patra-Ruga, Mohau Modisakeng, Thania Petersen and Nandipha Mntambo. In some instances, photography is the exclusive practice of the featured artists; in others it forms part of their medium mix. Photography emerged in the 19th century, long spawning a debate around its acceptability as an art form. Its critics accused it of being too literal, reducing it to a mere mechanical recording medium, while its advocates praised its ability to capture and elevate the artist’s vision.There is a distinction between documentary photography and photojo...

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