African Photography

When we see the above phrase I think we are apt to think of journalist photography—exploring, traveling, documenting photography. Not art photography. I’ve been looking through this book, Flash D’Afrique: Photography From West Africa.  I was particularly struck by the images of studio portraiture—the meeting ground between the self-design of the subject and the photographer’s eye. How much is presentation by the subject and how much is changed by the photographer? We’ve talked a lot about commercial imagery (in Visual Culture) because it contains the most pointed photographs—it has the clearest purpose. When reading Kwame Anthony Appiah’s essay “Cosmopolitan Contamination,” I realized how that approach can warp both how you see the consumer of images into a passive vessel (which is false) and also how you see photography. I’m presenting some images from the photographers in the book (and recommend you check it out) in oppostion to this mentality

Artist: Philip Kwame Apagya, Title: Akwabe No.2, 1998Artist: Philip Kwame Apagya, Title: Kaaba Style Shama, 1996 Both of these are by Philip Kwame Apagya, from the Jack Shainman Gallery. 

slideshow imageslideshow image

These two are by Seydou Keita.


These are by Dorris Haron Kasco from his series Les Fous d’Abidjan. 



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