Post Apocalyptic Schubart Park is a series of photographs by Herman Verwey, exploring the iconic deserted and dilapidated flats in Pretoria’s CBD. When he recently moved back to Pretoria, his fascination with these buildings was reignited. “It’s literally just the skeletons that are left. You can’t really see much when driving past and I always wondered what it looked like inside,” he says.
Herman photographed the Schubart Park evictions a few years ago, and has always felt a mysterious connection with this area. Herman explains, “I have always loved the Pretoria’s CBD. I find it more accessible than the Joburg CBD and also more untouched when it comes to covering it photographically.”
Naturally we wondered how Herman gained access to these buildings, as they’re fenced off and patrolled by guards around the clock to keep anybody and everybody out of these dangerous structures. He tried his luck with the guards, but they wouldn’t budge. It took ages for Herman to get official (legal) permission to enter the grounds.
Obviously that meant that he couldn’t do much planning for the shoot, so the content of Post Apocalyptic Schubart Park presented itself on the day. “I was very surprised to still see objects all over the place that showed that there was once life,” he says. “Walking through the old day care was very surreal. Pictures that kids painted on the walls are still very clear and they are truly haunting.”
The building was declared uninhabitable, so Herman was very conscious of every step while capturing this series of photographs, which adds to the nervous energy in these images. “You also hear noises all the time. It’s truly a scary place,” he says.
“The empty remains of what was a state of the art housing complex gives a feeling similar to that of a post apocalyptic Hollywood movie. Each room and empty space tells a story of the people that once lived there. Haunting, yet beautiful.”
See Herman’s full portfolio on his website.