Portraiture and Photography in Africa
Publication Year: 2013
Beautifully illustrated, Portrait Photography in Africa offers new interpretations of the cultural and historical roles of photography in Africa. Twelve leading scholars look at early photographs, important photographers’ studios, the uses of portraiture in the 19th century, and the current passion for portraits in Africa. They review a variety of topics, including what defines a common culture of photography, the social and political implications of changing technologies for portraiture, and the lasting effects of culture on the idea of the person depicted in the photographic image.
Published by: Indiana University Press
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Perhaps counterintuitively, this book has its origins in a six-year project on Chinese biographies/autobiographies and portraits/self-portraits that I led while serving as Patricia and Rowland Rebele Endowed Chair in the History of Art and Visual Culture at the University of California, Santa Cruz. It seemed to me that many of the issues I encountered as I engaged with Chinese photograph-...
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Any publication that involves more than a dozen authors owes a note of grati-tude to more people than can possibly be named. Each author has included ac-knowledgments at the beginning of their own essay, so the editors, John Peffer and Elisabeth Cameron, would like to use this space to thank those who worked âPortrait Photography in African Worldsâ (February 3â4, 2006), the confer-...
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In 1894, the African American minister C. S. Smith toured the coastal towns of western Africa seeking modern compatriots, business opportunities, and peers. His published account of that journey is illustrated with photographs of local black elites of the region, mostly the work of local black photographers. By including their images in book form, Smith helped create a record of Africaâs early modern ...
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African historiansâ interest in photographic sources is still rather recent and can be traced back to the mid-1980s. Today, after more than twenty years of research, we know the general outlines of the history of African photography, but have yet to move beyond the larger picture.1 In looking closely at some centers of the early history of West and Central African photography, such as Sierra Leone, ...
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Photographyâs particular histories in West Africa suggest that the medium has been profoundly shaped by subsequent viewers and owners who have altered and adapted photographs for personal use.1 My own research has been rooted in the frameworks of family collections in Accra and Cape Coast, Ghana (formerly Gold Coast), where photography was taken up as a momentous form of portraiture ...
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In early 1997, while doing a field study on photography as a profession in Niamey, Niger, I realized for the first time that the portrait studio photographers of this city of the Sahelian region were mostly foreigners and, more specifically, that they came from three coastal countries: Togo, Benin, and especially Nigeria. Moreover, all Nigerian photographers were born in either Igboho or Shaki, two small ...
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During the spring of 2004, I was in Kabompo District, North-Western Province, Zambia, conducting extended field research on womenâs visual culture, when my colleague Raoul Birnbaum e-mailed me about organizing a conference on portraiture and photography in Africa and I began reflecting more self-consciously upon my own photographic practices in the field. I realized that in many respects, ...
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One of the most popular debates swirling around photography on the internet is whether or not there are people who believe that photographs can steal their subjectsâ souls. This was the topic of a forum on the âphilosophy of photographyâ in 2009, launched by a respondent who describes how he occasionally encounters individuals who dislike being photographed: ...
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Photographsâthe actual physical objects, also referred to as image objectsâare always on the move and can always be transformed. Recent photographic studies of the social uses of photographs have focused on the âentangled layers of social biographies of individual photographs and groups of photographs . . . that have active social lives beyond the bounds of the image itself.â1 Immediately upon their ...
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The study of African photography has emerged as a dynamic and widely appreciated field over the last decade. However, much of the literature is related to the presentation of photography by Africans within museum and gallery contexts, with only a handful of scholars providing discussions based on in-depth and onsite research. My own research has explored the recent practice of black-and-white ...
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When people evaluate the presence of beauty or ill in their livesâwhether they are looking at photographs in an album or at other people walking along the street on the way to market or to naming ceremony, or running away from soldiers and armed police officers during a civil disturbanceâthey practice an aesthetic way of knowing the world. Despite the mass of collected data on contemporary aesthetic ...
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The evocative power of named masquerades among the Okpella, an Edo-speaking group who live seventy miles north of Benin City in southern Nigeria, drew me into a cross-cultural study of portrait images in the late 1970s.1 Combing the literature using a definition for portraiture that combined âpersonal reference,â âmemory,â and âintentionalityâ brought numerous cases to light of images that ...
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The meaning of portraits, the artistic conventions of their making, and their uses are all culturally determined. So too is the concept of the per-son whose portrayal is the generating cause and iconographic center of In the Yoruba town of uni1ECCgrave.jwá»`, Nigeria, there were two traditional burial ceremo-nies. After the body was interned, a second burial ceremony might take place. ÃkÃ³...
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Throughout history, griots (oral historians, musicians, and poets) have held an important social and political position among communities in the West African region of present-day Mali. Admired and appreciated for their creativity and artistic acumen, their expertise rests in part on their ability to embellish upon the positive characteristics of their patrons. Through their verbal orchestrations they ...
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Art works are not bound to a particular environment, nor do they exist in isola-tion from other art works. They relate to other objects in all phases of their lifeâduring production, distribution, and consumption.1 And they also relate to what the artists, spectators, and other actors know about these objects. African artists are well aware that other media and modes of expression now complement what ...
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Page Count: 472
Illustrations: 151 color illus.
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: African Expressive Cultures