Photography  —  Backlist BACK
Alex Van Gelder ed.

Phaidon Press, 2005
136 pages
Fully illustrated, b+w.
ISBN: 0714845132

This unique collection of portrait photography, comprising the work of nine photographers from Benin, mostly working during the 1960s and 70s, opens a new chapter in the history of African photography.

Most people's knowledge of African photography is limited to the Bamako school of Mali, whose masters Seydou Keita and Malick Sidibè were discovered at the beginning of the 1990s. But where Keita and Sidibè worked predominantly in the town, making images of a young urban population keen to establish the modernity of their lives, here in Benin, the photographers were very often ambulant, travelling by bicycle to far flung places to find their clients. For many of the people in the photographs it would be their first and last encounter with a photographer. Amongst the weddings and communions, the courting couples and proud parents, lie startling images of revenants and juju men; voodoo priests and priestesses; thieves and assassins; prostitutes and pimps - and most uniquely, an extraordinary sequence of 'aprës-mort' or death bed portraits.


More books in Backlist Photography