Then & Now | Billy Monk vs. SA Nightlife Today

In the late 1960s Billy Monk worked as a bouncer for Catacombs Club where, 35mm Pentax camera in hand, he would regularly take candid snaps of the partygoers – many of them his friends. It may not have been his original intention to do so, but the catalogue he left behind provides us with a fascinating and intimate glimpse of Cape Town’s nightlife at the time.  

As is often the case, Monk’s photographs were discovered 10 years after he stopped taking them when South African photographer Jac de Villiers found some of his old, dated contact sheets in a rented studio. He immediately realised the significance of what he’d uncovered and soon, an exhibition of Monk’s work – which proved to be the first of many – was held in Johannesburg in 1982.  

Coming back to the present, in which we’re greeted with a new event album on Facebook every day, we were curious how Monk’s iconic images might have looked had he taken them in the 21st century. In an attempt to answer this we’ve put together a playful album of side-by-side comparisons which show just how much things have changed since the 60s and, how much they’ve stayed the same.

01 Billy Monk x Hanro Havenga

Billy Monk x Hanro Havenga

02 Billy Monk x We-Are-Awesome

Billy Monk x We-Are-Awesome

03 Billy Monk x Angus Mckinnon

Billy Monk x Angus Mckinnon (Cowabunga)  

Jana Babez at YOH!

Billy Monk x Jana Babez at YOH! Heartless  

Adriaan Louw

Billy Monk x Adriaan Louw  

Jana Babez at YOH!

Billy Monk x YOH! Heartless  

07 Billy Monk x That Guy With Glasses

Billy Monk x That Guy With Glasses  

08 Billy Monk x Chomma 2

Billy Monk x Jody Brand (Chomma)  

Hanro Havenga

Billy Monk x Hanro Havenga  

10 Billy Monk x We-Are-Awesome 3

Billy Monk x We-Are-Awesome  

Chomma

Billy Monk x Jody Brand (Chomma)  

Alice Torres at YOH!

Billy Monk x Alice Torres at YOH! White Wedding  

Russell Grant

Billy Monk x Russell Grant  

Jody Brand - Chomma

Billy Monk x Jody Brand (Chomma)  

Musa N Nxumalo

Billy Monk x Musa N. Nxumalo  

We-Are-Awesome

Billy Monk x We-Are-Awesome  

 Jack Daniel Mason

Billy Monk x Jack Daniel Mason  

Skattie, What Are You Wearing?

Billy Monk x Skattie, What Are You Wearing?  

Jody Brand - Chomma

Billy Monk x Jody Brand (Chomma)  

Paul Ward

Billy Monk x Paul Ward  

21 Billy Monk x We-Are-Awesome

Billy Monk x We-Are-Awesome  

Photographs by Billy Monk are courtesy of PAPA.  

—  

Follow Photography Month on 10and5!  

Photography Month    

6 Comments

  1. The crazy part of the story is that Billy Monk was shot dead on his way to his first exhibition travelling from Johannesburg to Cape Town.

  2. Excellent!

  3. Charlemagne Olivier picture set 7.

  4. Jeez that second picture is trippy … is that my twin Or was I hammered lol