Margaret Courtney-Clarke was born in Swakopmund, Namibia (1949) where she currently lives and works. After studying art and photography in South Africa, she spent the next four decades working as a photographer in Italy, the USA and across Africa. Margaret began her career working under Italian photographer and filmmaker Pasquale De Antonis, photographing art, architecture and antiquities, thereafter freelancing on magazine assignments in Europe and Africa during the 1970s and 1980s. In 1979 Courtney-Clarke became persona non grata under the Apartheid laws and renounced her South African citizenship – later returning to South West Africa asserting her Namibian birthright under the protection of the UN. Throughout her career, Courtney-Clarke would pursue personal projects in Africa documenting feminine identity.
The work, Cry Sadness into the Coming Rain (2014 – 2018), marked Courtney-Clarke’s return to Namibia and her engagement with a people and landscape in crisis. She is currently working on a project in the Kalahari Desert in eastern Namibia to record the Bushmen and their social and cultural environment.
Nominations/awards include: Deutscher Fotobuchpreis (2018) Cry Sadness into the Coming Rain, Germany; the 2018 Krasznz-Krausz Book Award (long listed) Cry Sadness into the Coming Rain, UK; 2015 Henri Cartier-Bresson (HBC) nomination for her series On Borrowed Time, France; 10 Best Books of the Year Award, NY Public Library, USA. 2019 finalist 8th PRIX PICTET cycle ‘Hope’; Contemporary African Photography (CAP) 2019 & 2020 shortlist. Dedicated publications include, amongst others, Cry Sadness into the Coming Rain (2018); the acclaimed trilogy on the Art of African Women: Ndebele (2002), African Canvas (1990) and Imazighen (1996) and collaborations with Maya Angelou. More than 200 exhibitions of the author’s photography have been held globally.