Alexander Joe is a Zimbabwean-born photographer whose interest in photography began at the age of 19 when he was influenced by British fashion photographer David Bailey’s work. But, as the war to end white-minority rule in his home country escalated, Alexander’s interest turned from fashion photography towards documenting the political struggle of blacks in Rhodesia as Zimbabwe was then known. His first camera was an instamatic 126mm. From taking pictures of his two young daughters, he progressed to freelancing and tried to get a job as a trainee photographer with a daily paper, but was turned down due his color.
Undaunted, he started doing freelance work for UPI and other international organizations. When the black townships became too dangerous for the white photographers on the local daily paper, he was offered a job as a staff photographer
on the Rhodesia Herald. While this was a breakthrough, Alexander continued running into problems when he was covering white events. He worked for the Herald until Zimbabwe’s Independence in 1980. He then headed for London to try his luck in Fleet Street where he worked for the Times of London, The Observer and The Daily Mail.
He returned to Africa after being offered a job by the international – news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP). Based in Harare, Zimbabwe, he covered thirteen countries, documenting famine in Ethiopia, and wars in eight countries among other major news even from 1991 to 2001 he was based in Nairobi, Kenya, from where he covered several stories, traveling to Swaziland and Uganda for the coronation kings, and to South Africa for the release of Nelson Mandela from 27 years in jail. In 1994 and in 2001, Alexander was one of the members of the World Press Photo jury.
Exhibitions of his work have been held in Zimbabwe, the UK, Kenya, Mali, and France. Alexander was based in South Africa until March 2014, he is now freelancing from his new home base in Antananarivo, Madagascar.