Sunday, November 26, 2006

You Look Beautiful Like That: The Portrait Photographs of Seydou Keita and Malick Sidibe

You Look Beautiful Like That: The Portrait Photographs of Seydou Keita and Malick Sidibe
by Michelle Lamuniere, Sidibe Malick
Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly
The catalogue of a recent Harvard University exhibition, You Look Beautiful Like That: The Portrait Photographs of Seydou Keita and Malick Sidib‚ chronicles the two portrait photographers` work in Mali. Ke‹ta and Sidib‚ took countless studio portraits of Malinese people before and after the country became independent from France in 1960. Michelle LamuniŠre, a curatorial research assistant at Harvard`s Fogg Museum, includes an essay on the history of West African portrait photography with images dating back to the turn of the century and portions of recent interviews with the two artists. The 79 images ranging from people in strictly traditional dress to friends in hip Westernized get-ups to men posed in a boxing scene are striking for their subjects` arresting gazes and poses as well as for their superior production value.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Photographs have been taken in Africa since the 1840s, but only recently have scholars begun to pay attention to the work of indigenous African photographers, who typically blend Western technology and techniques with an African perspective and aesthetic sensibility. This catalog, which accompanies an exhibition at Harvard`s Fogg Art Museum, focuses on commercial portraits by two Bamako, Mali, photographers, whose photos are drawn from the collection of noted African art collector Jean Pigozzi.

Book Description
Seydou Keïta and Malick Sidibé, two important and widely known commercial photographers from Mali, took mesmerizing photographs of members of their communities during the decades before and after the country`s independence from France in 1960. This book presents a range of these portraits, as well as excerpts of recent interviews with the artists and an essay placing the photographers within the context of the history of portrait photography in West Africa since its beginnings in the 1840s. In contrast to the early photographs of Africans produced by Western colonial powers, Keïta and Sidibé`s photographs represent the work of Africans controlling the camera to create images of African subjects for an African audience. Keïta combined formulas of Western portrait photography with local aesthetics to create images that reflect both his clients` social identity and status within the community and an enthusiastic embrace of modernity. Later, as portrait conventions and societal roles became more flexible, Sidibé`s subjects took a more active part in constructing the images of themselves that they wanted to convey. Africans have valued photography for its unique ability to capture a person`s likeness, which, says Sidibé, was regarded as more eternal than the subjects themselves. This book is a striking collection of such likenesses.

1 comment:

Comb & Razor said...

great book.... there are some new Sidibe volumes out this year as well. one is called Chemises and the other is (i think) Bagadadji.