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EDITION OF

March 31st, 2016


Special Edition : Seydou Keïta at Grand Palais



EXHIBITION

Seydou Keïta at Grand Palais

FRANCE, written by JEAN-JACQUES NAUDET

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Seydou Keïta © Jean Pigozzi

The Seydou Keita exhibition which opens today at the Grand Palais, and the accompanying catalog, are impressive. They come from the Jean Pigozzi photograph collection. He shared these following words regarding the show.
« Many many years ago, I went to a small exhibition in New York on African art, and I stumbled on two photographs that said “Photographer unknown, Mali”. I was so impressed by the quality of these pictures, that I asked my curator, André Magnin, to go to Bamako, Mali and find who took these wonderful photographs. After a few days, André found an old man sitting on a big metal case that contained about 10,000 negatives. »
 
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INTERVIEW

Seydou Keïta 1952-1955

FRANCE, written by L'OEIL DE LA PHOTOGRAPHIE

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Sans titre, 1952-1955 © Seydou Keïta

 In the 1950s, there were three photographers in Bamako: Seydou Keïta, Malick Sidibé, and Abdourahmane Sakaly, a young Moroccan. We would go to Seydou Keïta for studio portraits, to Malick for photos of surprise parties, and to Sakaly for ID photos. We met Seydou Keïta through an older sister who had already had a photo taken with a girlfriend. We were eight boys, and we wanted to pose in pairs. At that time, I had a terrible complex about the square shape of my head. I thought my head was too long and I was embarrassed.
Text by Souleyman Cissé
 
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EXHIBITION

Seydou Keïta 1954-1960

FRANCE, written by L'OEIL DE LA PHOTOGRAPHIE

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Sans titre, 1954-1960 © Seydou Keïta

Interview with André Magnin 
My interest for contemporary art in Africa began in 1986, when I worked preparing “Magiciens de la Terre”, the first real international exhibition presented in 1989 at the Centre Pompidou and at the Grande Halle de la Villette. I have to say that my true passion for photography was born when I met Seydou Keïta in Bamako in 1991.

 
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INTERVIEW

Seydou Keïta 1958-1959

FRANCE, written by L'OEIL DE LA PHOTOGRAPHIE

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Sans titre, 1958-1959 © Seydou Keïta

When one poses for a portrait, one generally tries to show oneself in the best light. Traditionally, this means wearing one’s best clothes, accessorizing, and striking a flattering pose in a setting that enhances it. Seydou Keïta learned these conventions while working with the Bamako-based French photographer Pierre Garnier, but when he opened his own studio in 1948, he innovated by creating types of portraits better adapted to the desires of his Mali clientele. In particular, he used his own props and decorations, invented new poses, and above all introduced ornate clothing and backdrops.
Text by Dan Leers

 
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EXHIBITION

Seydou Keïta 1948-1954

FRANCE, written by L'OEIL DE LA PHOTOGRAPHIE

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Sans titre, 1948-1954 © Seydou Keïta

Seydou Keïta was born circa 1921 in Bamako (then the capital of French Sudan). He did not attend school and at the age of seven became an apprentice carpenter to his father and uncle who, in 1935, gave him his first camera, a little Kodak Brownie. By 1939 he was already making a living as a self-taught photographer, and in 1948, opened his studio on the family plot in a bustling district of Bamako, not far from the station. He specialised in portrait commissions, either individual or group, which he produced mainly in 13x18 format and in black and white, with a preference for natural light. The majority of the so-called «vintage» prints of the time were contact prints, from negatives, which Keïta produced himself.

 
 
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EXHIBITION

Seydou Keïta 1953-1957

FRANCE, written by L'OEIL DE LA PHOTOGRAPHIE

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Sans titre, 1953-1957 © Seydou Keïta

Seydou Keïta is without doubt one of the greatest African photographers of the last century whose work, when it is analysed, is marked from the start by signifiers of the colonial context of his birth and in which he produced almost all of his photographic work. […] The history of the European colonisation of West Africa is inseparable from the spread of photography, concomitant in the same time frame and the same geographic zone. It had been one of the essential tools since 1839-1840 with the arrival of the first daguerreotypists and the production of the first negatives by Horace Vernet.
Text by Yves Aupetitallot

 
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EXHIBITION

Seydou Keïta 1956-1959

FRANCE, written by L'OEIL DE LA PHOTOGRAPHIE

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Sans titre, 1956-1959 © Seydou Keïta

Most of the photographs taken by Keïta in his Bamako studio between 1948 – when the studio opened – and 1962 – when it closed down for good – remained virtually unknown other than by the photographer’s immediate circle or by the subjects and their friends and family. It was only from 1993 onwards, when the images were enlarged, that the art world discovered who Keïta was, the things that he witnessed and the circumstances in which he worked. As it happens, it was mainly the studio images that made him famous.
Text by Robert Storr

 
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PHOTO OF THE DAY

Opening of "An Independent Vision" by Elisabeth Hase

UNITED STATES, written by L'OEIL DE LA PHOTOGRAPHIE

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© Elisabeth Hase

 
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