Sean O’Toole is an author, critic, journalist and editor based in Cape Town.
Widely published, he is currently a regular contributor to the Mail & Guardian, a news weekly based in Johannesburg, and writes a bi-monthly art column for frieze magazine’s international print edition. In 2010, together with Tau Tavengwa and Edgar Pieterse of the African Centre for Cities at the University of Cape Town, he co-founded CityScapes, a biannual magazine focusing on cities and urban issues in the global south. He currently serves as the magazine’s joint editor. He is a past editor of the quarterly print magazine Art South Africa (2004-10).
Sean has written widely about photographic practice in South Africa, notably on David Goldblatt, Pieter Hugo, Sabelo Mlangeni, Santu Mofokeng, Jo Ractliffe and Guy Tillim. He is a contributor to Mikhael Subotzky’s new book Retinal Shift (Steidl, 2012). For six years, from 2004 to 2010, he wrote a popular weekly photographic column for the Sunday Times, South Africa’s largest weekend newspaper. He is a past judge of the 2003 Daimler Award for Creative Photography and 2007 Fuji Profoto Awards. He is a nominator for the annual summer academy held at the Paul Klee Centre in Bern, Switzerland.
In his capacity as a book editor, Sean has worked on numerous publications, including über(W)unden: Art in Troubled Times (Jacana, 2012), 20th Century Masters: The Human Figure (Standard Bank, 2012), and architect Don Albert’s monograph Sound Space Design (Pythagoras, 2010). In 2006 he published The Marquis of Mooikloof and Other Stories (Double Storey), a collection of short stories that included a work awarded the 2006 HSBC/SA PEN Literary Award.