A ‘spoor’ is the track or scent of an animal or person. In Afrikaans it also refers to rail tracks (South Africa’s rail network, used to be called Spoornet). The title of the book suggests acts of following and shadowing determined by these mostly defunct rail routes, many of which are now used as footpaths between township and town.
Over the course of this project palmer stopped at around 550 places. From these, 83 images are presented in ten series. Each series is introduced by a double page of station place-names arranged according to their locations on an otherwise absent national map. Isolated in darkness, these seemingly random configurations of places constitute Palmer’s selection of picture series, the sites of which may be close to each other or separated by vast distances.
Some of the place-names are those of regional centers including several that have been re-named in the post-apartheid era. Others refer only to the faded railway signage that preserves their fragile status as places. SPOOR concludes with a ‘map’ showing the distribution of all photographic locations that contributed to the project