The Digital Journalist

Introduction by Dirck Halstead

They probably could not be more different. One, a black photographer who grew up in the townships of Johannesburg, risking his life to document the violence going on around him in stark black and white. The other, a young, white, fine arts master at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa, who chose to use rich and sometimes surreal color to convey the dichotomy between black and white farmers in his native Zimbabwe.

I met Themba Hadebe, a soft-spoken 31-year-old Associated Press photographer, and Hywell Waters, an ebullient 24-year-old who recently completed his master's degree, at the Joop Swart Masterclass, sponsored by World Press Photo in Rotterdam last fall. They were among a dozen young professional photographers chosen by the WPP judges and given the opportunity to deepen their insights into the journalistic, ethical and emotional aspects of their work.

The masters who conducted the workshop were startled by the contrasts between these two photographers' work, and impressed by their commitment to storytelling while maintaining their distinctive styles. Each, in their own way conveys the times in which they live. The story of two nations that spring from a common land is one of the great continuing dramas as we begin the 21st century. We are proud to be able to give Themba and Hywell a chance in the pages of The Digital Journalist to tell their stories in their own words and photographs.

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