Dave Southwood is a photographer who concerns himself with the medium's production and consumption.
The photographer’s contact with his subjects is carefully organised, generally protracted, and is designed to shift power away from the author inasfar as possible. Southwood’s corpus of work is a miscellany of personal projects and jobs each of which identifies problems and asks questions with craft, humour and empathy.
His photos can be viewed at The South African National Gallery, The Finnish Museum of Photography, The Christoph Merian Stiftung, the collection of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, The Goethe Institut, The Spier Art Collection and private collections in South Africa and abroad.
His work made up part of three shows at The South African National Gallery in 2010, two of which were broad surveys of South African art.
In 2000, together with some township photographers, he set up the first non-profit organisation for ‘street photographers’ in the Western Cape called Umlilo. This was after having worked at The University of Cape Town in the same developmental field.
In 2004 he was awarded first prize by the Bauhaus for an interdisciplinary project which he co-authored. Three short films he made about architecture were shown at the Venice Biennale of Architecture in 2010. These two projects are representative of a deep concern for architecture and cities which culminated in an exhibition called citiesincrisis which he co-curated and participated in. The show took place at the University of Johannesburg's FADA Gallery and included Jane Alexander, David Goldblatt, Mikhael Subotzky and Guy Tillim, amongst others. In late 2018 he co-authored and oversaw the production and design of HUSTLES which is nominally a book about architecture, but really a portrait of Johannesburg.
He has contributed to, and been featured in, publications like Adbusters, COLORS, the New York Times Magazine, New York Magazine, Wallpaper. He has also edited photo editions of magazines, taught at Universities and written for the art press.
Publications in 2014 include The Bill of Rights, a photobook which illustrates the South Africa's 20-year old Bill of Rights, with an introduction by Constitutional Court Judge Edwin Cameron, and MEMORY CARD SEA POWER, a broadsheet newspaper.