In 2012 I did a short documentary on Martha a domestic worker in South Africa. The following years I decided to continue and refine this documentary focusing on documentary style portraits instead. I attempted to position the subjects to make best use of the little available light. I chose a wide F-stop and high ISO to compensate for the lack of light and exposed for the skin tones.
The beautiful Josaphine speaks four languages being fluent in both English and Afrikaans. She is a full time domestic and sole earner for her family. They still live in a slum dwelling in a nearby township and she commutes to work via bus or Taxi. This year I learned that Josaphine has been unable to work for the preceding months, life weighs heavily upon her and she’s riddled with arthritis. Contact has been cumbersome due to her ailing health.
Sanna has Type 1 diabetes and was caring for her ailing husband at the time of our shoot, Sadly he passed away shortly after my return to New Zealand in 2014. She lives in Sebokeng and has a state provided house or RDP house. At this time she’s still working as a domestic.
Miriam worked at the Sasolburg council until retirement at the age of 60. She chose to spend a large part of her life savings on her brother Jacob’s funeral that sadly passed away in 2014. As of today in her retirement she works as a domestic in care of herself and Jacob’s two children that’s still unemployed.