Pieter Hugo (South African, b.1976) is a self-taught portrait and documentary photographer known for his images of marginalized communities in Africa. Born in Johannesburg, Hugo initially worked in the film industry in Cape Town, before spending two years in Italy at Fabrica, a research center for artists.
He has since traveled extensively, to countries such as Ghana, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Liberia. His subjects include gang members, taxi washers, AIDS victims, albinos, and the blind. Hugo’s most well-known series, The Hyena and Other Men, was executed between 2005 and 2007, and was later published as a monograph. The series depicts a group of itinerant minstrels who perform with hyenas and other wild animals. Like his other works, the series is characterized by a stark, sometimes graphic depiction of its subject matter.
He has received several awards throughout his career, including first prize in the Portraits section of World Press Photo in 2005, the Standard Bank Young Artist Award in 2007, the KLM Paul Huf Award, and the Arles Discovery Award at the Rencontres d’Arles Photography Festival in 2008.
He has had solo exhibitions at the Hague Museum of Photography, the Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne, the Ludwig Museum in Budapest, Fotografiska in Stockholm, MAXXI in Rome, and the Institute of Modern Art Brisbane, among others. Hugo has also participated in a number of group exhibitions at institutions such as the Tate Modern, the Folkwang Museum, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, and the São Paulo Bienal. His work is part of prestigious collections around the world, including The Museum of Modern Art and The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the J Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles, the Folkwang Museum in Essen, and Huis Marseille in Amsterdam.
Hugo lives and works in Cape Town.