Preview: Pieter Hugo

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Photographer Pieter Hugo. Aissah Salifu, Agbogbloshie Market, Accra, Ghana, 2010. From the series Permanent Error. (c) Pieter Hugo, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York

A winner of a World Press Photo Portrait award, Pieter Hugo’s forthcoming New York show pictures the people who live with the consequences of our technology waste

South African photographer Pieter Hugo returns to Yossi Milo’s Chelsea space with a new body of work called Permanent Error. The images represent the past three years of work created by Hugo as he’s travelled repeatedly to a technology dump in Ghana.  The dump, referred to by residents as “Sodom and Gomorrah”, is the physical manifestation of the West’s hunger for only the latest thing in technology — and of our eagerness to cast off the old to make room for the new.

Photographer: Pieter Hugo. Naasra Yeti, Agbogbloshie Market, Accra, Ghana, 2009. From the series Permanent Error. (c) Pieter Hugo, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York

According to Hugo’s artist statement, the UN Environment Program calculated that Western countries produce a combined 50 million tons of digital waste every year, only 25% of which is ever recycled. Hugo’s images depict familiar technology burning in a wasteland, billowing a thick chemical smoke as Ghanaian men and women stand just nearby. The show allows us to see the consequences of this waste for both the environment and the people who tend to and live with our forgotten fads and lacklustre gadgets.  The show opens September 8th at Yossi Milo.

Photographer: Pieter Hugo. Yakubu Al Hasan, Agbogbloshie Market, Accra, Ghana, 2009. From the series Permanent Error. (c) Pieter Hugo, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York

Photographer Pieter Hugo. Yaw Francis, Agbogbloshie Market, Accra, Ghana, 2009. From the series Permanent Error. (c) Pieter Hugo, Courtesy Yossi Milo Gallery, New York

By Sydney Smith

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