In a series like "Interiors", Tshabangu asks his audience to imagine the types of people who might inhabit the rooms he's photographed by virtue of the ways in which they've arranged their possessions.
In his "City in Transition" series he documents a period in Johannesburg in 2004 when the city, having shed its high-apartheid, capitalist-centre history, was developing a new identity as an open city full of migrants from both the hinterlands of South Africa and the continent as a whole.
Growing up in Soweto, Tshabangu was not one of the people who made annual pilgrimages back to the rural areas and so, curious, he went to the rural areas of the country for his series "Emakhaya" to investigate the rhythms of daily life in these places — creating a series of images that are simultaneously eternal and immediate in their documentation of a continuing simplicity of life that, in spite of the historical pressures placed upon it, has its own dignity and well-founded logic.
Without any didactic prompting the series also provokes a conversation with the work dealing with the city and hostels and invokes the centuries-old economic dependence of one upon the other.
The final series in the show, which deals with people's relationship to water, is an on-going project featuring photos taken in New York, Malawi and Durban. Its title, "Water is Ours", was conceived in reaction to the infamous comments made by Penny Sparrow but, although Tshabangu happened to be in Durban at the time, the series was not inspired by her but rather by his curiosity about black people's relationship to water, having grown up in a landlocked township.
For Tshabangu, "it's an ongoing project. I'm interested in how human beings deal with water whether for economic, spiritual, fun or other reasons".
'Footprints' is on at the Standard Bank Gallery in Johannesburg until April 29.