All posts tagged: African photography

Foam hosts retrospective of Malian photographer Seydou Keïta

When Seydou Keïta (1921-2001) was given a Kodak Brownie Flash by his uncle in 1935, his career path took a new route. Originally an apprentice carpenter for his father, Keïta spent the following years teaching himself the technicalities of photography and eventually opened an outdoor studio in 1948 in Bamako Koura. As word quickly spread, it wasn’t long before Malians began flocking to his studio to have their portrait taken. “My experience taught me the positions that my customers liked best,” Keïta said. “You try to obtain the best pose, the most advantageous profile, because photography is an art, everything should be as close to perfection as possible.” As well as ornate backdrops, Keïta kept an array of props in his studio – from paper flowers to Vespas – and occasionally sitters would bring their own. In the black-and-white images he took during the late 1940s and 1950s, Keïta captures members of Malian society radiating with confidence, dignity and grace, epitomising Mali’s emerging freedom from colonialist rule and portraying them how they wished to be …

2018-05-01T11:07:45+00:00

The Malian festival celebrating the diversity and vitality of African photography

Bamako Encounters, set up primarily to showcase African photography, had to wait a long time to celebrate its tenth edition. The festivities were initially scheduled for autumn 2013 – 20 years after French photographer Françoise Huguier began the initiative in the Malian capital. But in January 2012, insurgent groups began fighting for the independence of the Azawad region. Within two months, President Amadou Toumani Touré had been ousted but the rebels splintered as soon as they had declared victory. Islamist factions prevailed, imposing strict Sharia law in the region. Unable to bring the conflict to an end on its own, the Malian government called for foreign military support. France, once the colonial power, controversially got involved. Its forces rapidly regained control but guerilla attacks continued for months before a first peace deal was signed in June 2013. That agreement didn’t last but a fragile new accord was signed in June this year. The unrest prevented the Bamako Encounters team from staging the event, but this year they decided to take advantage of what looks like a more enduring …

2015-11-04T12:59:01+00:00

BJP Staff