Tracey Derrick

Tracey Derrick is a South African freelance photographer, based in Cape Town in the Western Cape. She predominantly documents social issues, covering topics such as refugees, sex workers, animal cruelty and other human experiences. She has been a full-time photographer since 1992, which allowed her to document a pivotal time in South African politics, when the country transitioned from apartheid to democracy.

Derrick is an acclaimed “portrait documentalist” and usually captures images in black and white. Most of her works are part of exhibitions published with educational texts to reach school and community groups.

Derrick has exhibited both locally and internationally, gaining recognition for her numerous photo exhibitions such as “The Red Ochre People”, which documented Himba people in Northern Namibia and how a dam construction could potentially threaten their way of life. Also “Eye Inside”, a photographic empowerment project with the women inmates at the Malmesbury Prison.

She works closely with communities to document their experiences and to give a voice to marginalised groups. She has also focused much of her work on local spaces, for example in 1997 the United Nations High Commission for Refugees commissioned Derrick with the task of documenting African refugees in the series “Hope from Home”: Refugees from Africa Living in Cape Town.

Derrick’s work has been featured in “Blink”, a book celebrating 100 international contemporary photographers, and in 2005 the Iziko Museum purchased one of her prints as part of their permanent collection. The print is from her series “Earthworks”: The Lives of Farm Labourers in the Swartland. In 2008 Tracey was diagnosed with breast cancer. Although she was ill, she turned her struggle into art and documented herself changing through the breast cancer and it’s treatment. The project, called “One in Nine”, was selected to be part of the Grahamstown National Arts Festival Think!Fest programme in 2012, which led to a nomination for the ‘International Heroes of Hope: Profiles of Courage’ programme.