An activist photographer: Zanele Muholi's fight for the rights of the LGBT community

An activist photographer: Zanele Muholi's fight for the rights of the LGBT community

Zanele Muhali is far from being an ordinary photographer... Her camera is her primary weapon. An activist, she uses it to perfection to defend a cause dear to her: LGBTQIA rights. 

Born in South Africa, the young Zanele Muhali always knew that she wanted to explore photography. She therefore enrolled at the Market Photo Workshop, a school founded by the legendary South African photographer David Goldblatt. As soon as she graduated, she was very successful and was exhibited in various galleries in Johannesburg. 

She is a visual activist. LGBTQIA community have suffered violence, inequality, and discrimination for far too long. Zanele Muhali is fighting for a change, she is fighting for their rights and equality in society.

In her photographs, there are no tricks, no decorations, or costumes: everything is done to convey the story of the model and the emotion of her experiences. "In my world, every human being is beautiful," she says. It is what she is trying to show through her art. The aim is to create a relationship based on mutual understanding. 

Muhali's goal is to change attitudes and stereotypes. She seeks to bring the LGBTQIA community out of its invisibility, as each of them deserves to be seen and heard. To do this, she captures their moods, their values. 

Her gift is to turn a portrait into a biography. She brings out the emotions from their past experiences that are hidden deep in their hearts. Today, Zanele Muholi is a renowned photographer whose work is exhibited around the world.



Zanele Muhali. Courtesy of Stevenson Gallery, Cape Town/Johannesburg, Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York