An anti-apartheid activist in South Africa, she was on a visit to London so I knew that I had to forget about finding any allusion to her crusade in her friends’ house. I brought a white sheet and a dark velvet cloth in order to blank out the décor behind her. A French window throwing side lighting was enough and I asked her to hold her hands so that one was white and the other dark. Her face was lit likewise.

Nadine Gordimer by Mayotte Magnus