African Photography

Images of Africa by Western photographers have been plagued by photographs of starving children, war, wildlife photography, tourist landscapes and portraits of African tribes exoticizing the “dark continent.” But Africa for the past few years has been immersed in digital technology and culture and the digital age in Africa can now be witnessed through art and photography.

Key Questions

Is there an ‘African’ style?? subject matter, perspectives, colours, line

or just individual photographers who happen to come from Africa?

Hotshots: Africa’s most exciting new photographers 

Jepchumba 2013 Jepchumba, originally from Kenya, is founder and creative director of African Digital Art, which is dedicated to African digital media and art. 

Zanele Muholi, South Africa: “visual activist.” Her photography often takes on subjects that are taboo and unspoken in parts of Africa and Muholi is renowned of her groundbreaking portraits of the lives of gay women in South Africa.

Hélène Amouzou, Togo: series of self portraits taken in the attic of her home.

Nii Obodai, Ghana:  “Who Knows Tomorrow?”  book offers his take on the contemporary visual representation of Ghana.

Mutua Matheka, Kenya: one of the founders of Kenya 365, a 365-day project inviting Instagramers to take photos of Kenya, chronicling the changing Kenyan landscape and how economic and technology growth has influenced the country.

Lakin Ogunbanwo, Nigeria: visually provocative imagery of fashion culture in Nigeria.

Dillon Marsh, South Africa: travel throughout Southern Africa where he documents various places, experimenting with the strange uniqueness of familiar neighborhoods and landscapes.

Emeka Okereke, Nigeria: founder of Invisible Borders, a road trip project that invites artists and photographers to go on a journey to explore new images of the continent throughout West Africa.

Michael Tsegaye, Ethiopia: Traversing through remote parts of Ethiopia, Tsegaye’s portfolio displays wide ranging social issues that affect the people in the country. Tsegaye has done many fantastic photo series, including “Working Girls,” a photo essay on the lives of sex workers in Addis, as well as “Future Memories” — a series that chronicles the urbanization of various neighborhoods in Addis Ababa.

 Encounters PICHA Biennale 

2010: selected by Simon Njami: Adama Bamba (Mali), Dimitri Fagbohoun (Togo), Jellel Gasteli (Tunisia), Kiluanji Kia Henda (Angola), Kiripi Katembo Siku (D.R.Congo), Mouna Karray (Tunisia), Pierrot Men (Madagascar), Zineb Sedira (Algeria), Zwelethu Mthethwa (South Africa) in photography; Bili Bidjocka (Cameroon), Jimmy Ogonga (Kenya), Kader Attia (Algeria), Moataz Nasr (Egypt), Myriam Muhindou (Gabon) in video art.

 Bamako African Photography Encounters (French: Rencontres africaines de la photographie) is a biennial exhibition in Bamako, Mali since 1994. website links to photographers do not work. But under each biennial you can find lists of prize-winners.

The 6th annual African Photography Encounters  2005, with the theme of “Another World.” The prizes awarded were:

The jury also honored Ranjith Kally (South Africa) for his life’s work.

Assessment

There is here a clear difference between photographers who are really engaged – with privileged and deep communication with their subject and environment, They are able to get very raw and moving images.

And others who are obviously from a more sheltered social background and tend to follow Western voyeurism and exoticism – but often less technically adept.

Images of Africa by Western photographers have been plagued by photographs of starving children, war, wildlife photography, tourist landscapes and portraits of African tribes exoticizing the “dark continent.” But Africa for the past few years has been immersed in digital technology and culture and the digital age in Africa can now be witnessed through art and photography.