Iconic music photographer, Henry Engelbrecht’s legacy lives on in a book of his collective works

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Image Credit – Dominic Morel

Henry is the Giant in the Pit. A passionate, generous and gentle giant, Henry Engelbrecht will always be remembered for his profound influence on the local live music industry in South Africa.
 
For over a decade ‘Big H’ – as he was affectionately known by bands, organisers, and fans – captured unfiltered, emotional, and surreal imagery of performances across the length and breadth of the country, often rapidly catapulting those he photographed onto the world stage in social and traditional media. His innate storytelling ability, deep respect for all performers and epic devotion created icons of anyone fortunate enough to be in front of his all-seeing lens.
 
After his sudden passing on May 11th, 2021, his family, friends, artists and the people he worked with felt it was important to document his legacy. A photobook has been lovingly curated from Henry’s archives in conjunction with the art director of the hugely successful independent pressing detailing 2017’s Knysna Fire Stories. The limited-run, 224-page, full colour hardcover coffee table memoir spans local venues, bands, shows, festivals, International acts and even the magical moments within the audience. The book retails for R495 and is now available for purchase.
 
Published by Giant In The Pit, a Non-Profit Company (NPC 2022/316465/08), proceeds after costs will form part of a grant administrated by the Music In Africa Foundation, and utilised to further live music photography in South Africa.
 
This is the book ‘Big H’ always dreamt about, a testament to a decade in pursuit of the perfect moment – the exceptional hundredths-of-a-second that is raw, gritty, truthful and ultimately, meaningful. A love letter to live music in South Africa.
 

“This is by far the saddest day in South African music. We have lost a true gentleman, a giant with a mammoth heart. Rest in peace, my brother!” – BCUC
 
“The outpouring of tributes and condolences that followed was akin to the opening of a dozen floodgates, with a few common words as threads running through nearly everyone – kind, gentle, humble. Henry really was all of these things and more. He not only embodied them; he practiced them too.” – Tecla Ciolfi (Texx and the City)
 
“Jou passie was ongelooflik. Jy was ongelooflik goed vir my. Jy gaan baie gemis word.” – Francois van Coke
 
“It was my honour and privilege to share the pit and stage of many rock shows with the gentleman and legend that is Henry Engelbrecht. The quality that has always pleased me endlessly in Henry’s images, is his generosity… for me the most precious attribute about him as a human.” – Sean Brand (Photographer)
 
“If there was one photographer that was devoted to archiving South African music it would have been Henry Engelbrecht. Having photographed almost every South Africa band his love and devotion to South African music was evident in his work and how he lived his life. I’m honoured to be one last artist photographed by him for this I will forever grateful.” – Bongeziwe Mabandla
 
Order Giant in The Pit HERE
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