Jürgen Schadeberg Leica Hall of Fame

Leica has announced that Jürgen Schadeberg is the newest member of the Leica Hall of Fame. He is know mostly for his work in South Africa during the apartheid era. His most famous photo is of Nelson Mandela in his former prison cell in 1994. Here is the beginning of his biography from his web site:

Jurgen Schadeberg was born in Berlin in 1931 and, while still in his teens, worked as an apprentice photographer for a German Press Agency in Hamburg. In 1950 he emigrated to South Africa and became Chief Photographer, Picture Editor and Art Director on Drum Magazine.

It was during this time that Jurgen photographed pivotal moments in the lives of South Africans in the fifties. These photographs represent the life and struggle of South Africans during Apartheid and include important figures in South Africa’s history such as Nelson Mandela, Moroka, Walter Sisulu, Yusuf Dadoo, Huddleston and many others who have been documented at key moments such as during The Defiance Campaign of 1952, The Treason Trial of 1958, The Sophiatown Removals and the Sharpeville Funeral in 1960.

The life that this man has lived is difficult for most of us to relate to. He was not just a photographer he was a social activist that put his life on the line for others many times in his career. This award is for a man that the term “Photographer” just doesn’t do justice for. He stood up and made a difference.  

We live in an age when people are given the title “ A Great Photographer” because they have X number of Instagram followers. Jürgen Schadeberg is not just a great Leica Photographer, he is a great man. Congratulations for a well deserved lifetime award.