Ilan was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1980. At 19 he moved to England to develop his photographic practice. During this time he gained a BA (Hons) degree in Photography from the University of Westminster in London and was awarded the David Faddy Scholarship to continue his studies, receiving an MA degree in Photojournalism.
He spent eleven years working between his hometown of Johannesburg and London, where he was based. In 2011 he returned to South Africa to focus on several long-term projects across Africa. This resulted in him publishing his first monograph in 2013, titled, ‘Legacy of the Mine’ which has been acknowledged by several leading international awards.
His continued interest in global affairs at ground level has allowed him to engage with communities worldwide including covering key issues in Africa with projects in Kenya, Zambia, Egypt, Morocco, Angola, Namibia and South Africa.
Ilan Godfrey’s current and ongoing personal photographic practice focuses on extensive issues that reflect South Africa’s constantly changing landscape, documenting the country with an in-depth, intimate and personal conscience. By conveying through long-term projects a process of exploratory narration with photography, he reveals varied aspects of societal change across the country.
His work has been recognised locally and internationally by various photography awards, including, POPCAP ’14 (2014), Leica Oskar Barnack Award (2014), Ernest Cole Award (2012), OPENPhoto Award (2012), International Photography Award (2009) and the Magenta Flash Forward Award (2007/2008). He has participated in the Toscana Photographic Masterclass in Italy and is the recipient of the Ivan Kyncl Memorial Photography Placement in London.
He works with various institutions, organisations and international publications worldwide including, Cityzine magazine, The Sunday Times magazine, ZEIT Magazine, The Guardian Weekend magazine, Wallpaper magazine, The Financial Times magazine, Save the Children, CARE, The Fader magazine, The Economist – Intelligent Life magazine, Foto 8 magazine, Ojodepez magazine to name a few.
Ilan’s photographs have been exhibited in galleries, festivals and museums worldwide, including the Erma Stern Museum, Cape Town, KZNSA, Durban, the Wits Art Museum, Johannesburg, the National Portrait Gallery in London, the South African Jewish Museum in Cape Town, Iziko South African National Gallery in Cape Town, Wits Art Museum in Johannesburg, Musée du quai Branly in Paris, PHotoEspana – PHE10 Festival in Spain, Biografica in Mumbai, European Month of Photography in Vienna, Hereford Photography Festival, Photoplus Expo in New York.