Kendall Hunter is the author of Black Taxi: Shooting South Africa, a photographic memoir about a year she spent in South Africa as a news photographer. Working for the independent newspaper New Nation afforded her the opportunity to witness the very best and worst of humanity at a turning point in the country’s history. As Nelson Mandela ascended to presidency, lives were lost including those of photojournalists that Kendall worked alongside of during this eventful year.
Fast forward a few years and she was being impacted in other ways – mostly by motherhood but also the absorption of a new culture in her adoptive home of Switzerland. Out of this came her second book: Culture Smart! Switzerland.
Just as she was getting the hang of that whole scene a divorce brought her and her two daughters back to her home turf in Canada. She began writing for Tonic.com about all things good. It brought her back to issues she cares about: lives of girls and women around the globe; people in the aftermath of violence that don’t get enough attention; photography; and as always, unhesitatingly, the lives of her daughters. This is from where she now writes – this plateau of motherhood. She remains curious about the world, what it means to be a citizen of the planet, honouring our lives while at the same time knowing how lucky we are to be where we are, having what we have and knowing what we know.
Born in Calgary Alberta, Canada her family moved to the resort town of Banff in the Rocky Mountains when she was 3. She was first strapped to a pair of skis at the age of 11 months. This led to a passion for ski racing that she fed until the age of 19. This was about the time a camera replaced the ski poles in her hands. She worked in Banff taking photos of tourists doing various things such as skiing, golfing, or simply posing in front of the extraordinary scenery of the national park in which she lived. Before long it was time for Kendall to leave the playground in which she grew up and pursue her university studies. Her major didn’t reveal itself until she took a trip with a friend to South Africa in 1991. Nelson Mandela had recently been released from prison and she was completely engaged by a country awakening from the oppression of apartheid. She was also fortunate to spend time in the kingdom of Lesotho at this time where a fellow Canadian was working in development. It was a trip that influenced her immensely and inspired further studies in African politics at the University of Calgary upon her return.
In her final year, Kendall finished two theses while living and working in Johannesburg, finishing her degree as South Africa held its first democratic elections. Through the development organization, Visions in Action, she was placed on the independent national newspaper, New Nation as a news photographer. The year was 1993 and as the country lurched toward democracy, Kendall had a front row seat, camera in hand, documenting history in the making. From this experience came her first book, Black Taxi: Shooting South Africa.
Kendall now lives in Toronto, Canada