Meet Jono Wood: Documentary Photographer


We sat down with Hillbrow local; documentary photographer Jono Wood for a chat about his duty as a window into the underbelly of the city. 

Jono Wood

From spending New Years Eve with a Hillbrow police squad to riding a horse 300 kilometres through Ethiopia, Jono Wood has always lunged head-first into territories most people would fear to tread. As a photographer Jono sees his photographs as a window into a life most of us do not know or do not want to know.

Jono’s journey started when his mother gave him one of her old cameras to take along on a rafting trip down the Orange River. He paddled down the edge of Africa, took photos of whatever there was to take photos of and slowly but surely developed a hobby which would later become his day job. From the Mail & Guardian to Al Jazeera, Jono’s work has been published the world over.

For the past two years Jono has been working on a project about dark buildings. These buildings have been left derelict and vacant and have become home to many of the city’s illegal immigrants. Listen to our 30 odd minute interview, in between cuss words and coffee, with Jono Wood.

Jono has also published a number of other works, including a portfolio on Basotho Races, Forced Building Eviction Berea, Ethiopia, and The Park. All of his work is provocative and insightful. The Park for example, takes a look at an open air crack and heroin den in Johannesburg CBD. Here, Jono and friend Nickolaus spent nine months in a dangerous and hostile environment exploring the tortured world of the drug addict. The portraits show the hardness in the eyes of drug users, but what’s really provocative is that even families are photographed, showing drug users clutching onto their babies.

Another one of Jono’s works titled Mandela Memorial FNB Stadium shows a number of South African’s coming together to remember and celebrate Madiba. The photographs are moody, rainy, grey and powerful, which is certainly a different take on the colourful pics we are used to when we think of Nelson Mandela.

Words and photos by Shawn Greyling

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