Ken Oosterbroek

Ken Oosterbroek was born on the 14th of February, 1962 in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Oosterbroek's start in photography was rough as he struggled to find a job with newspapers with only the pictures he took in the military, illegally, as a reference for his capabilities.

August 1990, Johannesburg

Eventually, Oosterbroek found success after winning a Liford Award for South African Photographer of the Year, which he was nominated two more times for later in his life.

Following this success, he joined Greg Marinovich, Kevin Carter, and Joao Silva to create The Bang Bang Club with which he continued to work with until his death in 1994.

Unfortunately, Ken Oosterbroek died at the age of 32 as a result of friendly-fire during a clash between Peacekeepers and the African National Congress, nine days before the country's first all-race election.

Oosterbroek's Work, the majority in Black and White, went on to be immortalized through "The Invisible Line: The life and photography of Ken Oosterbroek by Mike Nicol"

Working primarily in South Africa, Oosterbroek's home, he photographed the conflict that was encapsulating the country.

As a result of this, Oosterbroek's work uniquely reflected his style while simultaneously accomplishing the photojournalistic goals that his newspaper, and all of his spectators, came to expect from him.

Ken Oosterbroek's work continues to thrive, even today, and inspire students such as myself to create drastic pictures that invoke emotion within people while telling a story that needs to be told.

In my own personal opinion, his timeless work accomplishes what I one day hope to accomplish as well; it tells a story in a unique way that is personal to him only, something a photographer must strive for at all times.

This picture, though not one of Oosterbroek's classic Black and White photographs, is one of the most compositionally creative images he ever took.

  • The man is slightly off-center to draw the eye in and create a more interesting photo to observe.
  • Everything in the photo, including the woman behind the man with the gun, is out of focus which creates a dynamic perspective that encapsulates the dramatic and tense tone of the photograph.
  • The lighting in the photograph is directly behind the subject, encasing the man with the gun in darkness to hide almost everything but his silhouette in order to shroud the man, and the photograph, in a deep mystery that keeps the attention of all who see it.
"But, give me a break to shoot the real thing. Real, happening, life. Relevant work. Something to get the adrenaline up and the eyes peeled, the brain rolling over with possibilities and the potential for powerhouse pictures. I am a photographer. Set me free." - The Bang Bang Club
Created By
Delaney Hamill

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