Cape Town-based photographer, George Hallett has been described as a boisterous personality by his family. Tributes continue to pour in for Hallet who passed away this week at the age of 78.
He was well known for his black and white images during Apartheid and into early democracy. He died in his sleep on Wednesday afternoon.
Hallett, who’s from Hout Bay, went into a self-imposed exile in Europe, returning in 1995.
During this time he re-established himself into the photographic scene compiling black and white portraits of former president Nelson Mandela among others.
His close friend, Ryland Fisher, says he was one of the best photographers in the world.
“One of my favourite exhibitions of George was when he had an exhibition at Bo Kaap museum and it featured pictures taken in the Bo Kaap and surrounds. Some beautiful pictures…and they were all in black and white. So imagine the colourful Bo Kaap houses being pictures in black and white…and he pulled it off magnificently”.
One of his other associates were respected poet and veteran journalist, James Matthews. Matthews’ son and former SABC Head of News, Jimmy lived with Hallett during his stay overseas.
“George Hallett was a very inspirational person in my life, when I got my first camera as a 12-year-old child he was a very encouraging tutor, later on, I was able to live with him in the South of France and that’s where my real education started in photography, African Literature and in music. George has been a constant in my life and his death came as a big shock although he has been ill for a long time. If I learnt anything from George Hallet it was to treat every person you meet regardless of their status in life with respect.”
Fellow photographer and close friend, Rashid Lombard says he witnessed his friend suffering from illness over the past three years.
“He was self-taught and began his career as a street photographer and that was actually through Mr Hulley, who had a photo studio in Hanover Street. Mr. Hulley sent him out onto the streets and said go and photograph people and that’s how he started communicating through photography. It was also during that period before the destruction of District Six under apartheid, the new apartheid laws the famous James Matthews the writer, poet told him to go and photograph District Six and part of his body of work that he is very famous for is this huge collection of very quiet and beautiful images of District Six.”
Hallett’s daughter, Maymoena says her father had a boisterous character in life.
“We will always remember him for his light, his laughter, his boisterous personality, his outrageous jokes and nobody can doubt his artistry in capturing the moment through his eye and through his lens nor can we doubt his contribution to photography, particularly South African photography, Rest in Power Papa G”.
Hallett leaves behind his two daughters and two grandchildren, his five brothers and cousin Elmerie with whom he was very close. No funeral arrangements have been concluded as yet.