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Chelsea MacLachlan September 22, 2011

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in South Africa.

From the project “Unaccompanied”. Cape Town 2009

Chelsea MacLachlan (b. 1987, South Africa) got her first camera at the age of 12 and has been photographing her environment ever since. Receiving a scholarship to study at Michaelis School of Fine Art (UCT) meant she could develop her skills and passion further. Since graduating she has spent a year in Italy working for Colors Magazine at Fabrica, been nominated for the Tierney Fellowship twice, been a finalist on FotoVisura and had her work exhibited in Cape Town, Vienna and San Francisco. She is currently based in Cape Town freelancing for various publications while pursuing personal projects.

About the Photographs:

“These two portraits are part of a project and exhibition entitled “Unaccompanied”. It examines a notion within South Africa whereby people are dying in separation from their families. It seeks to use portraits to reconnect families in a small way. For Hanjiwe Mbejwu (right), who is being “held” by her daughter and granddaughter in Mount Frere, Eastern Cape, she needed to move to a city to make money for her family living in the rural areas. Unaware of her HIV positive status meant that she got Aids quickly; Hanjiwe suddenly found herself stuck in Pietermaritzburg alone and unable to return home due to financial constraints. She talked fondly of her family and especially of her granddaughter Lucy whom she had not seen since she was a baby. In delivering the image to Zanele and Lucy, they were delighted, as they did not have any photographs of Hanjiwe. The portrait hung above Lucy’s bed. Hanjiwe passed away from pneumonia in winter 2009.”

“Daughter of Ray and Ken O’Connor (left), Cathy, lives in Harare, Zimbabwe while her parents reside in Cape Town. Cathy suffers from a severe cancer for which she cannot receive proper care in Zimbabwe. She has come to Cape Town for Chemo Therapy twice but will not do it again due to the financial constraint. Having been financially destroyed by the Zimbabwean crisis the family cannot afford visits or more treatment. The result is living in anxiety and separation. The portrait was added to Ray and Ken’s collection of images they have of Cathy. “