Dominance, Codependence, and Submission

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Pieter Hugo is a man’s man type of photographer. He’s from South Africa, currently living in Cape Town and his images are unapologetic. And incredible. He specializes in portraiture and my favorite exhibition of his to date is “The Hyena and Other Men”. These images document men from Nigeria who perform with wild animals such as hyenas, baboons, snakes, etc. I believe Pieter Hugo best describers what it is that is so inciting about the relationships he has photographed: “I look back at the notebooks I had kept while with them. The words ‘dominance’, ‘codependence’ and ‘submission’ kept appearing. These pictures depict much more than an exotic group of travelling performers in West Africa. The motifs that linger are the fraught relationships we have with ourselves, with animals and with nature.” Continue reading

Expressive Portraits of Africa

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This selection of portraits is made by Osborne Macharia, a Nairobi-based photographer. These vibrant portraits of men and women look expressive, very aesthetic thanks to the beautiful light effects. The artist proposes few kind of portraits, staging tribe men, women and children. Continue reading

Vintage Soul

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The great African portraitist Seydou Keita lived in Bamako, Mali from 1921 to 2001. A self-taught photographer, he opened a studio in 1948 and specialized in portraiture. Seydou Keita soon photographed all of Bamako and his portraits gained a reputation for excellence throughout West Africa.
His numerous clients were drawn by the quality of his photos and his great sense of aesthetics. Many were young men, dressed in European style clothing. Some customers brought in items they wanted to be photographed with but Keita also had a choice of European clothing and accessories – watches, pens, radios, scooter, etc. – which he put at their disposal in his studio. The women came in flowing robes often covering their legs and their throats, only beginning to wear Western outfits in the late 60s.
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Preserving Tradition

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The pictures of Jan C Schlegel bear witness of the special encounters of the photographer with unique people on his trips through Africa and Asia. Since 1998, Jan C. Schlegel regularly travels to remote places, which are secluded from the tourism of the western world. On his tours the artist observed the rapid decline of traditions and increasing change of the way of life of the people within their tribes due to globalisation. The inexorable changes woke the urgent wish in the photographer to portrait people, to capture impressions and to preserve traditional life forms in his pictures. Thus Schlegel not only creates artistic photographs, but also documents and preserves unique pieces of art – the people themselves. None of people photographed wear special make-up or were specially dressed before the photographs were taken. Nothing was staged, nothing is fake. They were all captured in their own habitat – at the market, in the village square, or simply on the roadside. The only stylistic device Schlegel uses for each one of his photographs is a simple grey background. With it he concentrates the attention on the people, not on their living conditions. The basic message is the internal and external beauty of the pictured people. Schlegel emphasises their uniqueness, their value and their irreparableness. With his art he fights for the particularity and individuality of the cultures.
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