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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Malick Sidibe’s photo enlarger now out of use sits in a corner of the photographer’s Bamako home.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Samba Sidibe (Malick’s younger brother) sits on the floor surrounded by old studio equipment and film negatives in Malick’s bedroom.
- Inside Malick Sidibe’s Bamako studio, a collection of Sidibe’s old cameras takes up an entire wall.
- 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.
All Africa, All the time.