Inspired by | African studio photography

Inspired by | African studio photography
 Photography by Seydou Kéïta

Photography by Seydou Kéïta

From the turn of the century until the 1960s, studio portraiture was the most popular and widespread form of photography in sub-Saharan Africa.

The need for identity photos contributed to the proliferation of African photographers, allowing photography to become affordable to the growing middle classes by the 1930s. Through these studio portraits, Africans were able to participate in their own image creation, often using patterned backdrops with regional associations to offset their finest clothing. This photography, from an African point of view, acted as a valuable social and cultural resistance to colonialism. Additionally, the diversity in each photo showed style and individuality, as seen in the subjects' dress, expression, and posture.

Today, the influence of these portraits can be seen in the art, design and fashion worlds.  For more information, check out the Encyclopedia of Twentieth-Century Photography by Lynne Warren. 

Modern Interpretations


 Seydou Kéita for Harper's Bazaar (1998)

Seydou Kéita for Harper's Bazaar (1998)

 Photo by Omar Victor Diop / Le Studio des Vanités © Omar Victor Diop Courtesy MAGNIN-A gallery, Paris. Via Conde Nast Traveler. 

Photo by Omar Victor Diop / Le Studio des Vanités © Omar Victor Diop Courtesy MAGNIN-A gallery, Paris. Via Conde Nast Traveler. 

 Photo by Omar Victor Diop / Le Studio des Vanités © Omar Victor Diop Courtesy MAGNIN-A gallery, Paris. Via Conde Nast Traveler. 

Photo by Omar Victor Diop / Le Studio des Vanités © Omar Victor Diop Courtesy MAGNIN-A gallery, Paris. Via Conde Nast Traveler. 

 Photo by Kenneth Willardt for Vanity Fair

Photo by Kenneth Willardt for Vanity Fair

 Photo by Kenneth Willardt for Vanity Fair

Photo by Kenneth Willardt for Vanity Fair

 Mara Hoffman Fall 13 Editorial shot by Louis DeCarlo

Mara Hoffman Fall 13 Editorial shot by Louis DeCarlo

 Photo by Koto Bolofo

Photo by Koto Bolofo

 Photo by Kenneth Willardt for Vanity Fair Italia

Photo by Kenneth Willardt for Vanity Fair Italia

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