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Seydou Keta
Seydou Keta
Seydou Keta

Seydou Keta

Country: Mali
Birth: 1921 | Death: 2001

The great African portraitist Seydou Keta lived in Bamako, Mali from 1921 to 2001. A self-taught photographer, he opened a studio in 1948 and specialized in portraiture. Seydou Keta 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 Keta 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. Seydou Keta worked primarily with daylight and for economic reasons took only a single shot for each picture. Seydou Keta was discovered in the West in the 1990s. His first solo exhibition took place in 1994 in Paris at the Fondation Cartier. This was followed by many others in various museums, galleries and foundations worldwide. He is now universally recognized as the father of African photography and considered one of the greatest photographers of the 20th century. "Its easy to take a photo, but what really made a difference was that I always knew how to find the right position, and I never was wrong. Their head slightly turned, a serious face, the position of the hands... I was capable of making someone look really good. The "photos were always very good. Thats why I always say that its a real art." Seydou Keta, Bamako, 1995/1996 Andr Magnin

From en.wikipedia.org
Seydou Keta was born in 1921 in Bamako, although the exact date is unknown. He was the oldest in a family of five children. His father B Tikr and his uncle Timk were furniture makers. Keta developed an interest in photography when his uncle gave him a Kodak Brownie with a film with eight shots in 1935, after returning from a trip to Senegal. In the beginning Keta worked as both a carpenter and photographer, taking first portraits of his family and friends, later of people in the neighborhood. He learned photography and how to develop from Pierre Garnier, a French photographic supply store owner, and from Mountaga Traor, his mentor. In 1948 he set up his first studio in the family house in Bamako-Koura behind the main prison.

From www.gallery51.com
Considered to be one the important precursors of African photography, Seydou Keta was born in Bamako (Mali) in 1920. Like many of his contemporaries, nothing particularly predestined him to become a photographer. His uncles bring back a camera from a trip to Senegal, and the young Seydou is fascinated. He starts photographing his relatives and discovers a deep passion for this art. Although he makes furniture for a living, he spends much time with Pierre Garnier who has his own studio. There, Seydou Keta learns the secrets of the trade and soon realises that there was an enormous demand for individual pictures. This drives him to open his own studio in 1948. Up until then, whites had had a lot of trouble convincing local population to have their pictures taken, because they were so afraid to lose their identity. With Keta it's different: he is one of them and permits them to choose their own picture that will be left for the close family. From then on, we see the opposite effect: people queue up to have their pictures taken. This is to become the great specialty of the malinese artist. Slowly he develops his own style, in which one finds accents of Mountaga Kouyat's work, an intellectual that fought a bitter personal battle for the independence of Soedan. To look their best, that is the sole desire of people in front of Keta's lens. Keta even gives them costumes, accessories and furniture to further enhance their appearance.Men, women and children, all look perfectly elegant. If we look beyond the aesthetics of the black-and-white pictures, Seydou shows us a portrait of Malinese society in full transition. Finally Seydou is to become the country's official photographer, and will stop working in 1977. Nevertheless, it will be many years before his work is noted at the famous "Festival of African Photography".

Source: www.seydoukeitaphotographer.com

 

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He has travelled in over 100 countries for his photographic projects. Most of these, besides appearing in numerous press publications, have also been presented in books such as Other Americas (1986), Sahel: lhomme en dtresse (1986), Sahel: el fin del camino (1988), Workers (1993), Terra (1997), Migrations and Portraits (2000), and Africa (2007). Touring exhibitions of this work have been, and continue to be, presented throughout the world. 
Salgado has been awarded numerous major photographic prizes in recognition of his accomplishments. He is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, and an honorary member of the Academy of Arts and Sciences in the United States.

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Together with his wife, Llia, Salgado has worked since the 1990s on the restoration of a small part of the Atlantic Forest in Brazil. In 1998, they succeeded in turning this land into a nature reserve and created the Instituto Terra. The Instituto is dedicated to a mission of reforestation, conservation, and environmental education. (Amazonas Images) 

"I have named this project GENESIS because my aim is to return to the beginnings of our planet: to the air, water and the fire that gave birth to life, to the animal species that have resisted domestication, to the remote tribes whose 'primitive' way of life is still untouched, to the existing examples of the earliest forms of human settlement and organization. A potential path towards humanity's rediscovery of itself. So many times I've photographed stories that show the degradation of the planet, I thought the only way to give us an incentive, to bring hope, is to show the pictures of the pristine planet - to see the innocence. And then we can understand what we must preserve." Sebastio Salgado Salgado currently lives in Paris with his wife. Source: Peter Fetterman Gallery After a somewhat itinerant childhood, Salgado initially trained as an economist, earning a masters degree in economics from the University of So Paulo in Brazil. He began work as an economist for the International Coffee Organization, often traveling to Africa on missions for the World Bank, when he first started seriously taking photographs. He chose to abandon a career as an economist and switched to photography in 1973, working initially on news assignments before veering more towards documentary-type work. Salgado initially worked with the photo agency Sygma and the Paris-based Gamma, but in 1979, he joined the international cooperative of photographers Magnum Photos. He left Magnum in 1994 and with his wife Llia Wanick Salgado formed his own agency, Amazonas Images, in Paris, to represent his work. He is particularly noted for his social documentary photography of workers in less developed nations. They reside in Paris. He has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2001. Salgado works on long term, self-assigned projects many of which have been published as books: The Other Americas, Sahel, Workers, Migrations, and Genesis. The latter three are mammoth collections with hundreds of images each from all around the world. His most famous pictures are of a gold mine in Brazil called Serra Pelada. Between 2004 and 2011, Salgado worked on "Genesis," aiming at the presentation of the unblemished faces of nature and humanity. It consists of a series of photographs of landscapes and wildlife, as well as of human communities that continue to live in accordance with their ancestral traditions and cultures. This body of work is conceived as a potential path to humanitys rediscovery of itself in nature. In September and October 2007, Salgado displayed his photographs of coffee workers from India, Guatemala, Ethiopia and Brazil at the Brazilian Embassy in London. The aim of the project was to raise public awareness of the origins of the popular drink. Together, Llia and Sebastio, have worked since the 1990s on the restoration of a small part of the Atlantic Forest in Brazil. In 1998, they succeeded in turning this land into a nature reserve and created the Instituto Terra. The institute is dedicated to a mission of reforestation, conservation and environmental education. Salgado and his work are the focus of the film The Salt of the Earth (2014), directed by Wim Wenders and Salgado's son, Juliano Ribeiro Salgado. The film won a special award at Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for the best Documentary Feature at the 2015 Academy Awards. Source: Wikipedia
Filippo Venturi
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Christine Armbruster
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My first memorable photographs, however, that I really feel like began to develop my style, are a few portraits of train hoppers in Austin, Texas later that summer. I sat on the ground with them and got to know them before asking to photograph their faces covered with tattoos and their accompanying dogs. Ever since I have been a little obsessed with train hoppers and spent handfuls of time with them. It's a surprise to me that I have still yet to hop a train of my own." AAP: What or who inspires you? CA: "Life around me and newness inspires me. There was once a photographer who said that when he stays in one place for too long he goes blind. I feel very similar. I unfortunately never photograph where I live after I have been there for a few months, it is just so common to me. But that is something I am working on so I can practice sitting still for slightly longer stints. He said he hadn't paid rent in 16 years, I feel like that could become my fate which is both exciting and daunting to me." AAP: How could you describe your style? CA: "I would describe my style as very natural and quiet. I am not in your face and not trying to be loud and force heart wrenching subjects on you. I just want things to be as they are, as beautiful and simple as they are in natural light, portraying people are the strong individuals as they are." AAP: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film? CA: "I try to use film as much as possible. Digital just doesn't do it for me. There is something natural and more real to me when I use film. Maybe it is because I slow down or take the images more seriously. I have a Bronica ETRS medium format camera with a fixed 85mm lens that is always on my back loaded with Kodak Portra film." AAP: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? CA: "I can't hold still long enough to edit my images! I would rather be shooting than in front of a computer, which is partially why I shoot so much film. When I first started photographing, I got a job with a newspaper. With newspapers heavily editing images will cost you your job. It got me in the practice of shooting right the first time and learning how to shoot without relying on Photoshop to make my images speak." AAP: Favorite(s) photographer(s)? CA: "I am currently really into Jonas Bendiksen and Jim Goldberg. I have always loved Olga Chagaoutdinova, Diane Arbus, and Pierre Verger." AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer? CA: "Shoot all the time! Someone once told me that you need to make a lot of crap before anything good comes out of it." AAP: What mistake should a young photographer avoid? CA: "Following trends. Trends are in my opinion one of the worst things a photographer can follow. Your work will be catchy for a moment then once trends shift you will be left with having to redefine your personal style again only to possibly fall into the same trap. Shoot what you like, it will become your own style. Everyone else is already photographing the trends, try something different. Classic and well done photography will always be in style and you will always have work." AAP: An idea, a sentence, a project you would like to share? CA: "I am currently working on editing a project shot in Jordan about nomads who have been forced into settling but are resisting and moving back to caves and tents as they lived for thousands of years. That is a cool project I worked on all last winter, living in caves, collecting water, and walking with shepherds. That should be a pretty cool project once I get the storyline a little more organized." AAP: Your best memory as a photographer? CA: "I am so sentimental. I feel like every time I travel it was the best place yet, every person I photograph is so beautiful and interesting, and that every situation I have been in was the most idea. I guess that is part of the human experience and the glory of photographing. It is an excuse to walk with nomads, a reason to hitchhike across Russia, a motivation to travel and create. I already have a lifetime of memories and stories for grandchildren, and I am only 5 years into my career." AAP: Your worst souvenir as a photographer? CA: "I have a good handful of scars from not paying attention to where I'm walking while trying to get an image and a broken camera or two from sandstorms I was not prepared for." AAP: If you could have taken the photographs of someone else who would it be? CA: "Pierre Verger. He has such beautiful timeless style and dead perfect tonal ranges. He got to travel the world and experience so many things hands on from the Harlem Renaissance to religious ceremonies from underground cults in Brazil. I think he was working in just the right time and had some of the most guts from any photographer I have ever seen. He wasn't afraid and I love that about him."
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Exclusive Interview With Jackson Patterson
I discovered the work of Jackson Patterson while judging the first edition of All About Photo Awards - The Mind's Eye. My co-jurors Frank Horvat, Ed kashi, Klavdij Sluban, Julia Fullerton-Batten, Cara Weston, Jules Maeght, Ami Vitale, Ann Jastrab and Keiichi Tahara and myself were impressed by his work Red Barn that was exhibited at Jules Maeght Gallery. He tells the stories of his family and others intertwined with the majestic landscapes in his photomontages. Patterson's images breathe insight into representation, fabrication, visual language and the relationship of earth and people.
Exclusive Interview with Stephan Gladieu
Stephan Gladieu's career began in 1989 covering war & social issues, traveling across Europe,Central Asia, the Middle East (Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Egypt, Pakistan) and Asia (India, Nepal, Vietnam, China, etc). His work began as travel features, but he became increasingly interested in using portraiture to illustrate the human condition around the world. His portraiture has included covering the Saudi Princes, Princesses in Nepal, actors & directors behind the scenes at Cannes Film Festival, politicians, intellectuals, but also everyday people the world over.
Exclusive Interview with Rebecca Moseman
Virginia native Rebecca Moseman received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1997 and her Master of Fine Arts from Rochester Institute of Technology in 2001. She has worked in academia, private industry, and Government as an instructor, consultant, and graphic designer and does freelance work in photography and publishing. We asked her a few questions about her life and work.
Exclusive Interview with Judi Iranyi and Remembering Michael
Michael P. Stone, our only child, died of AIDS in November 1984, the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Michael was 19 and a senior at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Exclusive Interview with Svetlin Yosifov
Svetlin Yosifov is a freelance photographer based in Bulgaria. He won the 1st place for the AAP Magazine #9 Shadows with his work 'Mursi People'. We asked him a few questions about his life and work.
Interview with Bill Owen
Bill Owens took iconic photos of the Hells Angels beating concertgoers with pool cue sticks at the Rolling Stones' performance during the Altamont Speedway Free Festival four months after Woodstock on December 6, 1969. Altamont, which included violence almost all day and one stabbing death, is considered by historians as the end of the Summer of Love and the overall 1960's youth ethos. This series of photos include panoramas of the massive, unruly crowd, Grace Slick and Carlos Santana on stage with the press of humanity so close in, they're clearly performing under duress.
Exclusive Interview with Vicky Martin
Vicky Martin is a fine art photographer based in the UK. She won the 1st place for the All About Photo Magazine #5 Colors with her work "Not in Kansas". We asked her a few questions about her life and work.
Exclusive Interview with Steve Schapiro
An activist as well as documentarian, Steve Schapiro covered many stories related the Civil Rights movement as well as more than 200 films. Now available in a popular edition by Taschen, "The Fire Next Time" with James Baldwin's frank account of the black experience and Schapiro's vital images, the book offers poetic and potent testimony to one of the most important struggles of American society. Coinciding with the release of Schapiro's new photo book, we asked him a few questions about his life and work.
Exclusive Interview with Graeme Williams
Graeme William's work on South Africa is acclaimed worldwide and has been published on the cover of Time magazine twice as well as published in The New York Times Magazine, National Geographic, Newsweek, Stern... to name just a few. But for the last five years he shifted his attention from South Africa to the United States. We asked him a few questions about his new project "America Revisited"
Call for Entries
AAP Magazine #11 TRAVELS
$1,000 cash prizes | Winning image(s) published in AAP Magazine #11 | Extensive press coverage and global recognition