Mark Smoot, professional Landscape architect and passionate photographer from California, took a job in South Africa in 1982 at the height of Apartheid. Fascinated to learn about this new world, he began taking road trips, exploring dusty roads and remote villages with his Nikon on the car seat beside him.
Mark’s focus soon became the self-built, rural homes of the indigenous peoples that he found to be meticulously maintained, decorated with loving care and fitting in complete harmony with their surroundings. The resulting portfolio of 577 full-colour photographs, taken over seven years and poignantly capturing a time and cultures that no longer exist, remained boxed away for decades as Mark continued to travel and work around the world. Finally, while locked down during the global covid-19 pandemic, Mark took out the photographs and put them together with 26 sketch illustrations, construction methods, tribal histories and his memories of adventures into this 303 page volume.
Mark’s work provides a rare insight into the lives (at that time) of indigenous peoples from 14 tribal groups of 6 different countries and the complex historical forces that impacted their traditions and vernacular architecture.