The Floor

The Floor


Graeme Williams

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From the Author:

This book is the invention of photographer Graeme Williams. Commissioned by the Johannesburg Stock Exchange to record for posterity the last days of a long-lived, people-driven market, Williams' camera has captured the drama of indelible moments.

It is said that the camera doesn't lie, but all of us know it does - that we never really look the way we appear in the lens. So Williams has to take responsibility for his camera and his subjects.

On the other hand, at least I can categorically say the written words are exactly as I intended and I cannot escape responsibility for the final product. Writing the text proved to be a dual exercise: I revisited the past and discovered new interpretations to events to which, at the time, and due to circumstances, I viewed from more parochial perspectives. In the process I have been able to place broader and sometimes more generous interpretations on underlying processes I could only guess at while they were taking place.

The opinions expressed are my own and I offer no apology for them.

I was attracted to the project by the quality of Williams' artistry. In this collection of unichrome photographs is captured the bittersweet drama of an end and a beginning, of regret and anticipation, of exhaustion and energy. The Floor is gone but leaves its own legacy. The Market, which rarely misses a beat, marches on.

David Gleason

Johannesburg, November 1996