Based in Cape Town, South Africa
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Portrait credit: Gary van Wyk
The following is an exploration of time between the only inevitable acts of birth and death. Having been the subject of and an observer to the unpredictable, no-guarantee world we live in, my photography travels beyond notions of a fair existence to probe a deeper intrinsic questioning of society. It interrogates the human condition through people seeking meaning and freedom, while battling loneliness and mortality. It confronts the ways we consider ourselves and treat others. In the web of genetic, environmental, and manmade paradigms that we have created, this work draws on a fascination with what humankind grapples with in their existence, what they attempt to achieve with their time, and the lengths they are willing to go to for this. Driven by personal influence and the context in which I have found myself, this is an ongoing inquiry into the unconsidered and what’s taken for granted.
The complex and heavily urbanized world humans have created for themselves has distanced them greatly from their core existence. Mountains emphasize this particularly well. It is a place where only the fit will rise, the knowledgeable will find they way, and the resourceful will survive. It is a place of upmost beauty, but relentless with its power to dominate. How something so magnificent can be so deadly baffles me. It has become a personal fascination to confront natural phenomena to learn my place, and how far I can respectfully extend into its depths. To document these engagements and utilize the findings to encourage sustainable developments seems like the logical way forward.
Damien Schumann investigates social and humanitarian issues through various mediums to motivate change. After hitchhiking from Cape Town (South Africa) to Ramallah (Palestine) he started his career in health care producing advocacy and social mobilization campaigns for TB/HIV related issues. Schumann has been elected as one of Mail & Guardian’s 200 Young South Africans, a Good 100 change maker, and has presented his photographic and installation work at Princeton, Duke and Johns Hopkins Universities. In 2013 he completed a Masters in Documentary Arts, from which his video career emerged. His work has won the praise of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Bill Gates, and Director of Human Rights Watch Joseph Amon.
In September 2018 he became the first person to traverse the entire 1 136km Cape Fold Mountain range in 30 days 9 hours and 29 minutes.