purpose éditions FR   EN
purpose 3

Africa seen by
its photographers

purpose 3 - autumn 2006

Malick Sidibé  Le photographe doit être gai
Sidi M. Sidibé  Modèles
Gabriel Fasunon  Le monde de Jebba
Paul Kabré  J'ai vécu avec les Gãeemsés
James Koblah Bruce Vanderpuije  Accra, Gold Coast, années 1930
Photographes ambulants  Togo • Bénin • Nigeria
Guy Hersant  Le sens du lien

Music by Seijiro Murayama

Many Westerners see Africa as a threatening country, all the more so because the propaganda we are subjected to in popular culture and by our security experts closely combines immigration and fear: Africa will bring us nothing but further misery and social unrest...

For others, fear is replaced by exoticism. Through old photographs and engravings, our view of Africa is derived from a colonial vision, or from touristic images (deserts and sun, landscapes, wild animals) from whose limited perspective Africans are completely absent.

The cultural treasures of this vast continent are forgotten. Therefore, it seems urgent for us to take an interest in those events and publications where the African arts are given a place of honor, and which
show us a more realistic Africa: "News from Africa: Africa Exposes Itself to Images," September 14 - October 8, 2006 in the 20th Arrondisement of Paris; "Africa Remix" at the Centre Pompidou, "beautés.afriques@nantes" in 2005, or the program "Enchanted Africa" broadcast on France Inter Radio this past summer.

In this third issue of purpose, you will not find any of the usual National Geographic-style images brought back from Africa by Western photographers. We have chosen to dedicate it to African photographers, and more precisely to portraitists from West Sub-Saharan Africa.

We invite you to get to know the works of Malick Sidibé, the Malian master of portraitism; Sidi M. Sidibé, a modelist photographer from Bamako; Gabriel Fasunon, who has been a portraitist since the early 1960s in his Nigerian village; Paul Kabré. who lived in the streets with the mentally ill; James Koblah, Bruce Vanderpuije and the Deo Gratias Studio of the 1930s in Ghana; the new generation of studio and itinerant photographers from Benin, Nigeria and Togo; and last but not least Guy Hersant, a French photographer, promoter of a particular African photography and also a portraitist.

Discover with us a photography which is firmly fixed in reality, which fulfills the essential functions of social life such as portraying, dedicating, exchanging and selling...