DYNAMIC AFRICA

Set up in 2010, Dynamic Africa is diverse multi-media curated blog with a Pan-African outlook that seeks to create an expressive platform for African experiences, stories and African cultures.



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Posts tagged "african photographers"

In Photos: “Family Album” by Mamaki Rakotsoana.

This series of images by South African photographer Mamaki Rakotsoana is a project in which she took her deceased father’s photographs and reproduced them in a manner that investigates her relationship to him, as well as his relationship to the women in his life.

yagazieemezi:


Adolphus Opara:
 

Written by  OnoBello.com

Born 1981, Adolphus Opara started out working in a then major art gallery in Lagos where he gained ample experience. His passion for photography grew as a result of the constant contact he had with both local and international practitioners when he worked at the art gallery. For the first 3-4years of his career as a photographer, he travelled well around the country and continent documenting different festivals and events of cultural show.

He later delved into documentary photography where he has been nominated and selected for master classes and workshops around Africa. He has covered assignments for notable organizations and his works have been published in magazines, books and websites that include; The Financial Times (FT), Bloomberg, BBC, Associated Press (AP), The Independent, Private magazine, Time Out Nigeria, British Airways Highlife Magazine, World Press Photo Enter, Klang Sehen, New African Magazine and Nigerians Behind the lens.

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Dedicated to the Cultural Preservation of the African Aesthetic

In Photos: “Occupations” by Filipe Branquinho.

As the title suggests, in his on-going series taken around his hometown of Maputo, Mozambique, the Lusophone country’s capital city, visual artist Filipe Branquinho, a formally trained architect, documents the livelihoods of his fellow citizens at their place of work. Branquinho began the project in 2011 with the objective to “ photograph the urban working people in their environments and to move away from the cliché of rural Africa”, and discovering how people in this city that had seen so much violence and turmoil in the years past occupied their time and related to the environment around them.

Although having to hone his own skills and develop both a technical and personal style and approach to the medium, Branquinho isn’t new to the world of photography. His father was a journalist and friend to other prominent Mozambican photographers of the mid-late 20th century such as Ricardo Rangel, Kok Nam and José Cabral.

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All Africa, All the time.

In Photos: “A Gorean Summer” by Fabrice Monteiro.

The usual photographs I’ve become accustomed to seeing of Goree Island are usually related to the island’s historic past as a port and base for European traders. These black-and-white images by Belgian-Beninese photographer Fabrice Monteiro stand in stark contrast to the colourful yet still and scenic landscapes that often make Goree island seem empty and uninhabited. A Gorean Summer is based on both the beaches of Goree, Dakar and other surrounding beaches near Senegal’s capital.

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All Africa, All the time.

In Photos: “Signares” by Fabrice Monteiro.

Exploring history and fashion along the west coast of Africa, for his series ‘Signares' Belgian-Beninese photographer Fabrice Monteiro recalls a time in history where distinct cultures collided.

As European traders and explorers began to ascend on Africa’s west coast around the 15th and 16th century, as these men where forbidden from bringing their families and wives from their home countries, they began to intermingle and intermarry with African women in the Senegambia region. As a result of these relations, many of these women began to orchestrate business dealings to their benefits “using these partnerships to bolster their socioeconomic standing and personal trading enterprises”. One signare in the 1770s from St Louis, Senegal, is noted to have been a property owner and dealer as she bought and sold property in Saint-Domingue, while “five other signares in Gorée signed a petition against a poorly run French company that had been awarded an exclusive contract with the island”. 

Although these relations were not at first recognized by colonial and European authorities, it later became acceptable for Europeans living in Senegal to marry and have their descendants profit from these unions through heritage rights. Most of these women were considered to be of a high class and often married “middle-class executives or French and English aristocrats”. Naturally, a new sense of fashion was born as the women combined their own traditional styles with European attire at the time.

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All Africa, All the time.

DYNAMIC AFRICANS: Senegal with Amy Sall.

Amy Sall is not a hired travel photographer, nor is she a photojournalist on assignment. Yet, her images of her recent trip to Senegal are far more moving, far more real, far richer and possess more authenticity than any embedded journalist could ever attempt to capture. The difference between Amy Sall and other photo amateurs or professionals? Her attachment to Senegal is personal. She’s a first-generation American, born and bred, but culturally, Senegal has never been far away. Additionally, she’s unburdened with the need or pressure to tell a specific kind of story. The narrative was a story to be told along the way, along her path of self-discovery.

For these reasons, and more, I fell in love with her posts on instagram as she visually documented her emotional visit to a place that isn’t quite home, but isn’t a foreign country as well. Through the story she creates with her images, Amy’s photo-documentation illustrates the need for Africans to tell their own stories through any and whatever medium is at their disposal.

Here’s my interview with Amy Sall as we discussed the emotional journey of her multicultural upbringing:

In about five sentences or less, briefly tell us a little about yourself. Who is Amy Sall? How would you introduce and define yourself to those who don’t know you?

I am a 23-year old, first generation Senegalese-American, born and bred in New York City, trying to navigate my life with my best foot forward, while staying true to my values. I think in all aspects of my life, there’s the inherent nexus of integrity, selflessness, and grit. What I do and who I am are intrinsically linked. Currently, I’m a Masters Candidate in Human Rights at Columbia University, focusing on children’s rights and youth issues in Sub-Saharan Africa. In the past, I’ve worked within a few sectors of fashion where I’ve had experience at Vogue, written for Lurve Magazine, and worked for Rick Owens to name a few.

You’re first generation Senegalese-American, born and raised in the US. What was your experience growing up being a part of two very distinct cultures? 

It was interesting, but not easy, growing up between two cultures. It’s not the easiest experience to sift through because it’s quite layered and muddled with all sorts of intricacies. I can say that there were times where my “Africaness” and my “Americaness” had points of contention. I was born only a year after my parents came to the states, so I grew up in a very culturally Senegalese home. Everything in our home was inherently Senegalese, from the food, to the music, to how daily life was constructed.

However, once I stepped outside my home, I was confronted, daily, with the fact that even though I am, in the literal sense of the word, African-American, I did not fit in with the African-American kids. They saw me as other. They saw me as African. They saw me as a dark African. So, it was difficult to reconcile that tension between two cultures as a child. My being rejected by my classmates (and when you are a child, the approval of your peers means everything) led to the resentment and disavowal of my culture and dark skin.

My childhood in that regard was tricky, and it unfortunately caused some damage during my transition into adolescence. There eventually came a point when I just didn’t care about what people thought, and my parents had a heavy had in getting me to that point. Straddling the line between two cultures became easier, and eventually something I thought less about. The biggest relief was ridding the shame I felt toward my “Africanness” as a child. Being African is absolutely the most beautiful thing to me.

On your blog, you mention that you hadn’t been back to Senegal in ten years. What prompted your visit back home? What was the experience like?

What prompted me to go to Senegal was simply realizing that I no longer had the excuse not to go. The last time I was there, I was 13 or 14. The fact that I was approaching the ten-year mark of not being in Senegal was incredibly important and symbolic to me. I decided that I wouldn’t let another year pass without going to Senegal. The possibility of my grandmother’s dying without a chance to see them again started to weigh heavily on me.

Both my grandfathers died when I was younger. One of them I’ve only seen once, the other I’ve seen twice. I regret that I wasn’t able to get to know my grandfathers. The reasons for the 10- year gap vary, but I will attribute them to the unfortunate ills of migration. It wasn’t always easy for my parents to take my siblings and I to Senegal often. Those opportunities did not always present themselves. It’s a sad realization to know that you can’t go home and see your family as often as you would like to, for reasons beyond your control.

So I decided, now that I’m older, nothing was to stop me from going back home and seeing my family. I wanted to get closer to my family, especially with my grandmothers, and develop a real relationship. I wanted to deepen my sense of self and rediscover my roots. It was also important for me to make this trip so that I could see the socio-economic issues of the country with my own eyes, especially as they pertain to children and youth. Much of my graduate research is centered particularly on Senegal, so being on the ground was necessary for the work I’m doing academically, and aim to do professionally.

During your trip back to Senegal you visually documented your stay there by taking and sharing photos on instagram. Was this something you decided before travelling, or was it done on more of a whim? 

I definitely knew I wanted many photos to have as keepsakes, but there were many times where I didn’t bring a camera with me because I just wanted to truly feel Senegal and be immersed in it. When I did have my camera, all I was trying to do was simply capture the country in the truest way possible. I did not want to glamorize or romanticize Senegal. It is an incredibly beautiful, rich and vibrant country, with beautiful people, however there are very real problems that I felt were not to be excluded.  I wanted to share a holistic view of Senegal, from the colors of Gorée to the talibés begging in the streets.

You’ve been blogging for quite some time now so you’re no stranger to sharing bits and pieces of your life online, something I enjoy doing myself. How important was it for you to share this part of your personal life online? How has the response been?

I like the idea that with the Internet, I can carve a space for myself, curate it however I please, engage in a dialogue, and maybe even teach someone something new. I had no expectations when I posted my photos on social media. I was surprised that they garnered the response that they did. People really took a liking to them. I know absolutely nothing about photography. A country as beautiful as Senegal makes it quite easy to photograph. It made me happy that people were appreciating and enjoying my journey, and were able to take part in it. They were discovering Senegal as I was rediscovering it, so it became this shared experience. 

This trip was personal, but it was one that so many can relate to. I am not the only person that has been away from their home country for so long. I am not the only person that hasn’t seen their aunts and uncles in years, or hasn’t hugged their grandmothers in a long time. As personal as this experience was, there were those who were able to connect to it on varying levels. That is what probably surprised me the most, because I didn’t think sharing my trip through these photos could have that effect. I realize that sharing them was much bigger than me, and it was much bigger than a series of Instagram posts. I am really humbled by that. I don’t care about having a large number of followers because I don’t seek validation through that kind of stuff, but I value when someone can take something positive away from what I have shared, whether on the Internet or in real life.

Would you ever consider compiling and publishing your photographs and experience into a photo-book of some sort?

Working on it!

That’s faboulous! Can’t wait ‘til it’s published. Lastly, what are three words you’d use to describe Senegal?

Vibrant, beautiful, home.

Thank you so much, Amy! 

All images via Amy Sall’s instagram.
Amy Sall’s site.

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All Africa, All the time.

Libyan photographer Jehad Nga takes us inside Malick Sidibe’s home and studio.

We’re all familiar with the iconic work of Malick Sidibe, one of the world’s most noted vintage studio portrait photographers. His work has been exhibited all over the world, creating a timelessness element to the Mali of days gone by. But what has become of the photographer, his studio and the magic, in the form inspiration, we see when we look at his images? 

Above are possibly the most recent photographs of an aging Sidibe (the very last photograph) in his one-room home, and his studio in Bamako, taken by Libyan photographer Jehad Nga almost a year ago in March 2013. I’m unsure if he’s been interviewed or photographed since.

Photo captions:

  1. A curtain used as a backdrop hangs in Malick Sidibe’s Bamako studio. The curtain has been in use since the opening of the studio in 1960 and never has been replaced. Many of Sidibe’s most famous photographs feature the backdrop.

  2. A view from inside Malick Sidibe’s now cluttered and dusty Bamako studio. Virtually nothing has been thrown away over the years from the studio including broken cameras and studio equipment.

  3. Malick Sidibe’s photo enlarger now out of use sits in a corner of the photographer’s Bamako home.

  4. Inside Malick Sidibe’s Bamako studio, a strobe lighting system has been updated to accomidate his son Kareem’s job as an I.D. photographer.

  5. On the patio of Malick Sidibe’s Bamako studio, photographs taken by Sidibe as well as ones featuring him over the years decorate a wooden wall.

  6. Inside Malick Sidibe’s home, a huge archive of negatives sits piled up and unprotected. Sidibe and his sons are trying to find people to help them begin to digitally archive his work before much of it is ruined by moisture and dust.

  7. Samba Sidibe (Malick’s younger brother) sits on the floor surrounded by old studio equipment and film negatives in Malick’s bedroom.

  8. Inside Malick Sidibe’s Bamako studio, a collection of Sidibe’s old cameras takes up an entire wall.

  9. Malick Sidibe sits in his bed in his Bamako home. With temperatures rising to 110 degrees Fahrenheit, the heat take its toll on the aging Sidibe. His younger brother Samba and his sons help keep him cool using a hand fan.

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All Africa, All the time.

In photos: “Turkana” by Jehad Nga.

A photographer of Libyan descent born in the United States and raised between Tripoli, Libya and London, England, Jehad Nga's lens has explored many stories and identities all over the African continent. From photographing a beauty contest in Botswana for HIV affected to women, night commuters in Ugandan, and the Liberian civil war, to illegal migration in to South Africa and documenting his own country, Libya, Nga's body of work is unique in that it contains projects that cover all regions of the African continent.

In this 2010 series titled ‘Turkana’, Nga’s photographs highlight the people of the Turkana region of Kenya - perhaps the area worst hit by drought in the country. Despite oil and water reserves in Turkana, the people reap few of the benefits as the government and large corporations take control of these resources.

According to Nga, the Turkana are ‘dwindling in numbers’ due to drought and subsequent neglect from them Kenyan government. Devastatingly, as a result of food and water shortages and with little to no aid reaching them, for some of the people photographed by Nga, these are the very last images of them. Shortly after photographing them, several of the individuals photographed passed away as a result of starvation caused by drought.

With the darkness filling up the negative space in the photographs, the significance of this sombre effect is to show the disappearing of a people. Nga’s aim, through these photographs, is to highlight the neglected plight of the people of the Turkana region and create a consciousness and awareness concerning their situation. 

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All Africa, All the time.

Some of the stylish men photographed by Moroccan visual artist Hassan Hajjaj for his ‘My Rock Stars’ series.

The series highlights some of his personal inspirations in these eclectic and vibrant frames influenced by iconic African photobooth photographers and his North African heritage.

Aside from photographing his subjects and uniquely decorating each photograph, Hajjaj often dresses them up in clothes made by him and works with them to capture their individual personalities.

Some of the faces shown here are Nigerian musician Keziah Jones, Algerian singer Rachid Taha, British-Nigerian rapper Afrikan Boy, British fashion designerJoe Casely-Hayford, OBE, Moroccan musician Hassan Hakmoun and American singer Jose James.

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All Africa, All the time.

Some recent shots taken by Nigerian photographer Lakin Ogunbanwo, one of my favourite contemporary fashion photographers.

There’s always an air of mystery to his images that make them incredibly unique. With the faces of the models hidden in these photos, the objective of making their clothing stand out and feel memorable is done so effortlessly.

Read Dynamic Africa’s exclusive Q&A with Lakin. 

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All Africa, All the time.

Harandane Dicko’s series ‘The Mosquito Net’:

"The Mosquito Net" is a black-and-white intimate photographic series by Malian photographer Harandane Dicko in which he uses the mosquito net, an every day object familial object in the lives of many Africans living in malaria-prone regions, and turns into a veil - an artistic tool to demonstrate the fragility of life.

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All Africa, All the time.

DYNAMIC AFRICANS: Habiba of Habiba’s Project

When travelling to a different country, there’s no better way to get a fulfilling and non-commercialised experience by understanding and navigating terrain that is new and foreign to you with the help of an insider - someone who knows and is sensitive to the intricacies of the culture there.

We’ve all seen tourist images of Egypt and really, they’re the same ol’, same ol’: relics of Ancient Egypt - the Syphnx, pyramids, monuments. and other bastions of this period in history. But the truth is, Egypt is so much more than it’s past and it seems that many still see it as a country that reached its peak in centuries gone by. For this very reason, the work of Egyptian-based photographer Habiba sheds an intimate and important insiders perspective of life in parts of Egypt, mostly Cairo, firsthand.

As part of this month’s focus on ‘Travel & Exploration’, I spoke to Habiba about her experiences photographing sights, sounds and scenes in her own country.

In about five sentences or less, can you tell us a little about yourself. Who is the person behind the blog?

I am Habiba, a self-taught Egyptian photographer who’s absolutely fascinated by Art & travel. I live in busy Cairo where my inspiration comes from. I try to show the beauty in the simple things I see while adding a touch of my identity even when I travel. I love Architecture and things that bring dynamism to the eye, and that’s what I try to capture.

What are the main objectives of your blog? What led or inspired you to create it?

I have always wanted to study photography but never really got a chance to, so I decided I need to keep doing what I love and teach myself somehow. Photography is all about practice and trying new things and so a yearly project seemed like a perfect idea to challenge myself and keep up with my progress. I also consider it a way to document special moments and the wonderful underestimated things I see in daily life.

Since starting this blog, what has kept you motivated and/or what new things have you learned along the way?

The project is really helping me figure out my own style in photography. It pushes me to try new techniques and shoot new things and therefore get better as a photographer. 

In my experience, I learned to shoot with whatever camera I’ve got, whether it’s a phone, digital or film camera, and I learned that good cameras don’t make you a good photographer. Of course, better cameras help with quality but It’s really all about showing the world things from your own creative perspective rather than depending on advanced technology.

Most of all, I learned that the best shots are natural spontaneous ones. Anyone can get a pretty model and ask her to fake a smile but it takes a true photographer to freeze real moments and turn them into Art.

You never accompany your photos with captions, can you explain the reason behind this?

I feel like this helps my audience interact with me and, in a way, get involved in the project. I want them to wonder what this photograph is all about and trigger their imagination. I also really encourage and appreciate questions about my work as well as feedback.

African women photographers seem very hard to come by, something I find incredibly frustrating as both a woman and lover of photography. Do you share these frustrations or have you ever felt that being a woman has ever restricted you in some way from areas in the world of art/photography that men can more easily access?

That is so true! I get so frustrated for the same reason. Of course, it depends on what kind of work the photographer wants to do. For example, I find Travel and Street photography harder for females. It’s no secret that women have not been exactly looked at as equals in many societies for many reasons, so it can be odd for a woman to go out shooting alone in some areas. I also have to admit that I sometimes worry about other people’s reactions to me taking photos of them or something around them, whereas men are usually more brave in cases like these.

To be fair though, it does have its advantages such as shooting sensitive or intimate cases that involve women, or even in wedding photography since the bride can feel more comfortable.

In the end, sexism is an issue suffered around the world in most fields and not just in photography. I am personally not worried because a lot of actions have been taken against this issue so far and more people are becoming aware of it everyday.

Who and or what inspires/motivates you/your work? Any fellow African photographers?

I am always checking Art blogs and websites such as mymodernmet & colossal, nothing inspires me more than seeing good Art by amazing artists around the world.

I can’t think of a specific photographer or artist right now but I have met amazing photographers around where I live that truly inspire me. As for motivation, it’s enough knowing someone appreciates or relates to my work.

Lastly, where else can you be found online? 
I’m one of the few people who are not on Facebook but you can find me on:
Tumblr: habibasproject (365) & bebba (main blog)
DeviantArt & Behance: habibaelg
Thank you for reading! :)

EVENT: I SEE A DIFFERENT YOU at the Museum of African Design (MOAD), Johannesburg.

Opening on Thursday 14 November at 7:30 PM and running through 9 February, the group exhibition ‘Native Nostalgia' is an exploration of nostalgia in five African countries; Senegal, Nigeria, Algeria, Benin and South Africa.

Although the world never fails to rave about the iconic images of Seydou Keita and Malick Sidibe, one of my favourite vintage Malian photographers who emerged during the same period as his aforementioned counterparts, is Adama Kouyate.

I can’t quite place my finger on what it is that draw me to his photographs, and why he manages to somehow stand out from the other two (for me, that is), but I can perhaps attribute it to the uniquely diverse and often lively people he photographed. Not a single person looks uninteresting to me, and I can more than appreciate their fashions and poses. From restless children and women imitating ‘okada’ drivers, to straight-faced adults, fashion-conscious youth, and serious jokers and posers.

"Ami Kone" by Malick Sidibe