While scholars have begun to explore the complex afterlives of “new realism” in Europe and the Americas following the collapse of Weimar democracy, its reception on the African continent has received far less attention. Looking to the unheralded documentary work that Anne Fischer, a German- Jewish refugee to Cape Town, produced in the early years of the Second World War, this essay examines how she and South African contemporary Constance Stuart Larrabee variously employed German modernist photographic aesthetics to both critique and uphold public fictions of race in the decade leading up to the advent of apartheid. In considering these women's work, the text sheds light on how issues of race, class, and gender inflected Fischer's experience of exile and, in turn, how she mobilized her lens in her new colonial context as a young pariah among parvenus

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