Seydou Keïta


Contemporary Photographers

“Seydou Keïta (1921-2001) was a self-taught portrait photographer from Bamako, Mali. […] As a self-trained photographer, Keïta always preferred the direct control that black and white studio portraits afforded. From 1949 to 1964, he developed a remarkable reputation; meticulously creating and preserving thousands of exceptional photographs.” (source) More samples here.

There story of his discovery is a bit ugly and would smack of plain old colonialism - if there weren’t some similarities with how Disfarmer’s photographs were ‘reclaimed’, to be then sold at steep prices in fancy galleries. Disfarmer’s photographs had also been produced in a simple portrait studio, albeit in rural Arkansas.