Harper’s Bazaar. Patti Smith, December 2022.
The Hyena and Other Men. Mummy Ahmadu and Mallam Mantari Lamal with Mainasara, Abuja, Nigeria, 2005.
Pieter Hugo x Hood By Air, 2016.
T: The New York Times Style Magazine. Nicolas Ghesquière, October 2019.
Harper’s Bazaar. Suzi de Givenchy, September 2022.
La Cucaracha. Black Friday, Oaxaca de Juárez, 2018.
La Cucaracha. The Advocate at Home, Mexico City, 2019.
i-D. Matthieu Plainfossé, September 2022.
Solus. Jason, London, 2020.
My COVID Family. Sofia, South Africa, 2020.
My COVID Family. Jacob, South Africa, 2020.
Kin. Ann Sallies, who worked for my parents and helped raise me, Douglas, 2013.
Permanent Error. Al Hasan, Agbogbloshie Market, Accra, Ghana, 2009.
Permanent Error. Untitled, Agbogbloshie Market, Accra, Ghana, 2010.
 Polyphonic. Self-portrait with hangover, Cape Town, 2022.
Pieter Hugo has a remarkable talent for creating imagery that captures and holds the viewer’s attention, even when he’s not photographing a child hugging a hyena from behind. “It’s quite a small gamut to work within,” the photographer muses in his Cape Town studio, an immaculately organised workspace overlooking the base of Table Mountain. “But I try and push that envelope.” The type of artist whose ominous imagery precedes him, Pieter in person has an imposing presence, a decidedly gentle demeanour, and an astute clarity of expression.
Over the past twenty years, Pieter has captivated audiences in over forty solo exhibitions with representation by galleries from Cape Town to New York, London and Rotterdam. He’s published four monographs, photographing judges, presidents and porn stars. A taxing last-minute journey from Nature’s Valley to Paris to photograph Patti Smith preceded this HOMEY interview.
Pieter’s direct, respectful sittings with society’s outsiders serves as an engaging channel to confront timely social, political and environmental realities. “Even when I’m photographing still lives or landscapes, it’s actually about people,” he says. “It’s about people and politics.” Giving HOMEY the tour of his workspace, Pieter addresses his varied projects, whether it’s a solo trip to a dump on the outskirts of Accra or a collaborative fashion story for a global publishing powerhouse, with academic eloquence. And then he’ll throw in a shocking anecdote about renting a gun from a policeman or the violent realism portrayed in a passion play at a Mexican prison. That tension between rawness and refinement, turmoil and intellect, is the thread that runs through Pieter’s work and maintains a distinct voice, as he puts it, in the morass of photographic democracy.
“Even when I’m photographing still lives or landscapes, it’s actually about people,” says Pieter. “It’s about people and politics.”
Body of Work
Pieter Hugo revisits his most arresting and personal portraits for HOMEY’s debut documentary, dissecting the hierarchy between his personal and commissioned work.
 CONVERSATION / 31.01.23
Read time / 20 mins
Mikael wears his take on an office t-shirt in a formal mid-weight cotton pique. On the blind behind him is the FIELDS brand totem, designed by Daniel Ting Chong.