Justin is an unrecognized, self-taught documentary portrait photographer. He focuses on some of the social issues in South Africa, shooting film on a medium-format Bronica camera. While his work generally looks across the spectrum of Africa’s complex societies, his recent projects focus on individuals involved in the fight against illegal wildlife syndicates in Southern Africa. Justin highlights the positive impacts that rural responses to the problem are having on South African communities. His photographs attempt to comment on the historic, current, and future social issues that the country faces.
People Against Poaching
Recently the Northern White Rhinos have struggled to reproduce. As a result, international attention is refocusing on the protection of the remaining Southern White Rhino and Black Rhino species in Africa. The poaching of rhinos is driven internationally and the complex market is interwoven with historical issues in Africa relating to land and resource acquisition. However, its appeal lies in the opportunity to make quick money in a society that does not offer much economic opportunity. It can be said that poachers are moral representatives of an ethically troubled nation. This series shows a selection of people fighting against illegal wildlife action in the Northeast region of South Africa. People living and working within the reserves are constant targets for poachers looking for inside information concerning the locations of the rhinos. These photographs represent the strength and conviction of the people fighting against these poachers. South Africa’s younger generation has become involved in resistance efforts against the illegal wildlife trafficking; they are those in street clothing. The men in uniform work for a reserve and dedicate their daily lives to the cause; lie-detection measures have proven their allegiance.
The continuation of this work will focus on all-female anti-poaching units- illustrating not only society’s struggle against poaching but also its fight against systemic patriarchal dominance.
To view more of Justin Keene’s work please visit his website.