Contemporary African Photography


The study and recent exhibition of photographs of Africans by other Africans has raised interesting questions about intercultural representation, and the history of misunderstandings arising from foreigners’ perspectives on Africa.

The creation of the “Biennale of Photography in Bamako”, in 1994, helped establish a professional dynamic within the realm of photography, not only in Mali but throughout West Africa. Many private initiatives - training centers, galleries, studios, professional associations – began to spring up. Besides using photography to catch glimpses of daily life, more and more African photographers have since began to see this medium as a means of artistic expression.

In contrast, European photographers with their love of the African continent, brought home pictures whenever they traveled, the beauty and grace of which attest to technical skills and a true sense of composition. The trust and respect they show for their models are self evident and these qualities lift their work above and beyond the mere documentary. These pictures treat the most jaded viewer to a new perspective on the people, cultures and lifestyles that have undergone such profound changes over the past fifty years.

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