Photographers are often brilliant people who can help us grasp a better understanding of what’s going on in other parts of the world.
One of the most successful female photojournalists of the 20th century was Constance Stuart Larrabee, whose photographs during her time in Africa in the 1920s and 1930s are still highly praised today.
Constance was born in England in 1914 and soon after moved with her parents to South Africa, where she grew up in the country’s administrative capital, Pretoria.
On her 10th birthday, Constance was given a Kodak Brownie camera and quickly fell in love with photography. She started winning photography awards at a young age and eventually decided to study at the Regent Street Polytechnic School of Photography in London in 1933.
When she returned to South Africa in 1936, Constance opened her own portrait studio and earned a brilliant reputation, photographing portraits of politicians, artists, writers, generals, etc. She became so popular that she eventually opened a second studio in Johannesburg.
But there was one photography project of Constance’s that really threw her into the limelight.
Throughout the 1930s and 1940s, Constance wanted to photograph vanishing tribal cultures in southern Africa. She photographed people from various ethnic groups in their native fashion, living their everyday lives and performing rituals.
Constance had a special eye for photographing women from these groups while they were working and taking care of children.
Constance exhibited these photographs, and people were stunned by their quality. Her newfound fame led her to become South Africa’s first female war correspondent, and she photographed troops during World War II. She was incredibly brave as she photographed the front lines and exposed people to the destruction that occurred as a result of the war all over the world.