Journal article

Acropolis now: Ponte City as 'portrait of a city'

Research Areas

Currently no objects available

Publication Details

Author list: Josephy S

Publisher: SAGE Publications (UK and US)

Publication year: 2017

Journal: Thesis Eleven

Volume number: 141

Issue number: 1

Start page: 67

End page: 85

Total number of pages: 19

ISSN: 0725-5136

eISSN: 1461-7455



Ponte City is a project by Mikhael Subotzky and Patrick Waterhouse that uses photographs,

architectural diagrams, text, interviews, fiction, found objects, oral history, and

archival material to critically explore a particular urban landscape in Johannesburg. The

exhibition and book, which comprise this project, manifest in different ways, but both

work together to cut across disciplines and incorporate the languages of fine art,

photography, architecture, urban planning, history, economics, popular culture, and

literature. The publication comprises a book of photographs and pamphlets in which

the artists have collaborated with former and current residents, gathered personal

stories, delved into the archive, invited authors to contribute essays on a variety of

topics, and worked with material found at the site. This article examines the notion of a

‘portrait of a city’ in relation to the Ponte City project, and asks the questions: What is a

portrait of a city? Is it possible to take a ‘portrait of a city’, and what techniques are

used when a photographer portrays places and people, or attempts to take, or make, a

‘portrait’ – of a city, a place or even a building such as Ponte? Can a building come to

stand in for a city? And how have these strategies been put into play by Subotzky and

Waterhouse in the Ponte City project?


Currently no objects available


Currently no objects available

Last updated on 2018-05-04 at 13:04