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Malick Sidibé’s Mesmerizing Portrait of Post-Colonial Mali

Malick Sidibé. Un jeune gentleman, 1978.

Malick Sidibé. Nuit de Noel, 1963.

Malick Sidibé. Mon chapeau et pattes d’eléphant, 1974.

Malick Sidibé (1935–2016) was a master of the form, a singular visionary whose photographs tell the story of the liberation, self-determination, beauty, dignity, and pride of his native Mali in the heart of West Africa.

Born in the village of Soloba when Mali was still a colony of France, Sidibé hailed from a family of herders who worked the land. His natural propensity for art made him the first member of his family to attend school: the Institut National des Arts de Bamako, in the nation’s capital in 1952.

In 1955, be began an apprenticeship with photographer Gérard Guillat-Guignard; he opened Studio Malick in 1958. His timing could not have been more fortuitous for Sidibé and Mali were coming into their very own at the same time. As a member of the Mali Federation, which included Sengal and the French Sudan, the nations achieved independence from France on June 20, 1060, after a period of negotiations. On September 22, Mali left the Federation and was on its own.

The spirit of freedom is evident throughout Sidibé’s work. Honing in on the youth culture of the times, he captured the joyous energy of the first generation of liberated Malians on the beach, in the clubs, at sporting events, and in his studio. In every photograph he created he found the heart and the soul of his people and the result was nothing short of beautiful.

The Harrowing Floods of Bangladesh, in Photos

A rickshawala, with the help of his daughter, tried to cross a flooded road in Ramu.

“I am documenting what’s around me not only as a photojournalist, but also as a victim,” Jashim Salam says. In Chittagong, Bangladesh, where he lives and works, rising water levels during monsoon season have left houses and places of business below water. “It started very slowly, six or seven years ago,” he tells me. “The water is rising year by year.” Water World is his ongoing record of the people and lives affected by the floods.

The Photo Exhibition Holding Things Together in “This Synthetic Moment”

JAMES BARNOR. NIFA NIFA, 1974.
Lambda print, 27 3/5 x 27 3/5 in 70 x 70 cm.
Courtesy the artist and October Gallery, London.

LIZ JOHNSON ARTUR. Untitled, 2016.
Printed 2018, adhesive vinyl. © Liz Johnson Artur.
Courtesy the artist and David Nolan Gallery, New York.

KWAME BRATHWAITE. Untitled (Photo shoot at a school for one of the many
modeling groups who had begun to embrace natural hairstyles in the 1960s) c. 1966.
Printed 2017, archival pigment print 15 x 15 in 38.1 x 38.1 cm.
Courtesy the artist and Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles

Though we may obsess about the past or the future, alternately consumed by all that is not, the primacy of the present forever asserts itself. We almost always believe that the times in which we live are the precipice to a cataclysmic fall, a tipping point to some greater tragedy, a moment when all can slip away and be lost. Ours is, as photographer David Hartt observed, “A crisis of borders, a fold in time, a rupture in space.”

With this in mind, Hartt sets out to curate a photography exhibition that speaks to our times. This Synthetic Moment at David Nolan, New York, brought together the works of Liz Johnson Artur, James Barnor, Kwame Brathwaite, David Hartt, Zoe Leonard, and Christopher Williams to explore, in Hartt’s words, “pictures of power and pride and grief and desire and confusion and community and celebration and abandonment.”

Each of the artists featured sharesd their own vision of the world, one that speaks to the others included in the exhibition in a dialogue that made us aware of the ways in which photography can shape the discourse without ever saying a word.

Stunning Photo Auction to Support Multiple Sclerosis Research

Stella in the Poppies © Amanda Friedman

Trawl Valley © Corey Arnold

Untitled © James Minchin

When the photo editor Rachael Lieberman decided to put together a photography auction to help fund treatment for people living with Multiple Sclerosis, she settled on the theme of the five senses. MS affects nerve fibers, and the disease can cause vision loss, impaired hearing, reduced smell and taste, pain, paralysis, and more. A total of fifty artists have come together to support the neurology department at UCLA with images celebrating all manner of sights, sounds, scents, flavors, and sensations.

Lieberman, who has MS herself, selected vibrant, poignant, and sometimes humorous photographs that evoke memories, spark the imagination, and inspire new mysteries. From James Minchin’s 1994 portrait of Stevie Wonder to Corey Arnold’s capture of a frigid, untamed Alaskan seascape, SENSE: A Silent Auction to Benefit Multiple Sclerosis takes us from the intimate and personal to the vast and universal. Below, we ask the curator tell us a bit about the show, which will take place on April 25th at FLOOD Gallery as part of the 10th Anniversary Edition of the Month of Photography Los Angeles. SENSE is presented in collaboration with the Lucie Foundation. Purchase tickets here, and see the full collection of images and place your bids here. As a reminder, there is no cure for MS, but centers like the one at UCLA continue to work to change that.

The Print Swap Comes to Berlin in a New Photo Exhibition

The Crying Window © Anne Closuit Eisenhart (@lesfifoles), Brooklyn, NY

Steam Streets © Erica Reade (@ericareadeimages), Brooklyn, NY

Alexa Becker, the Acquisitions Editor for photography and art books at the influential publisher Kehrer Verlag, has selected 30 images from The Print Swap collection to be part of our upcoming exhibition at BERLIN BLUE art. This will be the fifth-ever Print Swap show and the first in Europe. All photographers who participate in The Print Swap give and receive a print; the project connects photographers across genres and thousands of miles. A different guest curator and industry leader chooses approximately 25-40 images for each of our exhibitions. We invite all photographers to submit here.

The Berlin Print Swap exhibition includes photographers from throughout the United States, England, Italy, Greece, Portugal, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Norway, Austria, Russia, and Australia. Through Becker’s selections, we travel from megacities to the vast wilderness and back again; in the spirit of the swap, we find unlikely visual cues tying together dissimilar places. When seen from above, Navid Baraty’s geometric New York City echoes Shannon Kerr’s feral Grand Canyon; Damien Drew looks out a window in Japan to see a concrete maze, while Marc Schindl peers into his rearview mirror to discover an endless landscape, set on fire by the light of the sun. Anne Closuit Eisenhart and John Duke Kisch capture worlds abstracted by rain and condensation, while Nelson Miranda and Alberto Blanco photograph underpasses more than 10,000 kilometers apart.

Please note that we are currently accepting submissions for our next exhibition, taking place early this fall in Hyderabad, India, as part of The Indian Photography Festival (IPF) by the Light Craft Foundation. The world-renowned photojournalist Ami Vitale will curate the show. Submit to The Print Swap here. As always, it costs $40/image to be included. We cover printing and shipping. All photographers who submit will participate in the worldwide exchange, and Vitale will select a total of 25 images to include in this next exhibition. Submit today!

Hallucinogenic Photos of the California Wilderness

Psychscape 69 (Tonopah, NV), 2017

Psychscape 18 (Banner Ridge, CA), 2017

Terri Loewenthal keeps her methods closely-guarded, but she is willing to admit a few things about her chimerical photographs of California. First, they are all made in camera with filters. Second, they are single exposures. Third, they were made when she was physically in wild landscapes, not in a studio, removed from the hustle and bustle of daily life. Up becomes down; earth erupts into color; the horizon extends forever.

15 Years of Haunting Landscape Photos

As Light Falls #8 (2015) © Nicholas Hughes

In Darkness Visible (Verse I) #14 (2007) © Nicholas Hughes

Field (Verse I) #3 (2008) © Nicholas Hughes

Nowhere Far, a monograph by the photographer Nicolas Hughes (GOST Books), spans six series and fifteen years of large-format work, hand-printed in the darkroom. Rooted in the traditions of Romanticism and Pictorialism, the book slips into the outer edges of abstraction, displacing us in vast expanses of land, sea, and sky. In Hughes’s world, the ground blurs and moves; he freezes waves and stretches the boundaries between heaven and earth almost to the point of breaking.

Patrick Willocq’s “Song of the Walés” Celebrates the Rite of Motherhood

WALE BAKUKU, GENEROUS LIKE PALM NUTS.
Bakuku — the queen. From the village of Bokondobuna. Boonde clan.

WALE BONTONGU’S POND.
Bontongu — the young. From the village of Ikoko. Itele clan.

The Bantu (Pygmy) tribes of the Democratic Republic of the Congo are among the oldest peoples living on earth. Believed to be the direct descendants of Late Stone Age hunter-gatherers of the central African rainforest, they have maintained traditions and rituals that date back thousands of years.

When women of the Ekonda pygmy tribe become first-time mothers, they become Walés (“nursing mothers”), living in seclusion with their children. Here they are tended to by other women who teach them about their health and that of their children, who regardless of gender are the heir of the family and sometimes the entire clan.

Here, the Walés are given the respect and care otherwise reserved for the king, devoting their energies exclusively to themselves and their children. Adopting elaborate grooming rituals including coating themselves in ngola, a red powder from a tree of the same name that is believed to chase evil spirits away, and donning heavy brass bracelets known as kongas that restrict their movements along with nkumu, the skins of carnivorous animals, the Walés are follow strict rules in seclusion until the time arrives for liberation.

Nan Goldin: The Beautiful Smile

Bruce in the smoke, Pozzuoli, Italy 1995.

Nan one month after being battered, 1984.

Nan Goldin’s photographs are filled with spirits and ghosts, becoming vestiges of lives lived, loved, and lost. They are evidence of we who once were and no longer are, here today, gone tomorrow ­– were it not for her art.

Over the past five decades, Goldin has created a body of work so iconoclastic and powerful that she has spawned generations of artists who follow in her footsteps, from Juergen Teller to Wolfgang Tillmans and Corinne Day. Goldin first picked up the camera in 1968 at the age of 15, using photography as a means to deal with life following her older sister Barbara’s suicide just four years earlier.

By 1973, she had her first solo exhibition in Boston, wherein she showed the world her travels through the city’s gay and transsexual communities in a series of black and white photographs that are stunningly timeless – yet prescient, as Goldin always is.

South Beach, 1974-1990: Photographs of a Jewish Community

Gay Block

Gay Block

Gay Block

Long before South Beach in Miami became a destination among the jet set, it was a thriving retirement community for Jewish Americans, who made their fortunes up north before cashing their chips in and heading to Florida to spend their final years in the sun.

During the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, when they came en masse, they decamped in the Art Deco wonder palaces that had been the perfect getaway for the likes of Frank Sinatra and Marilyn Monroe. Once they arrived, they brought their culture with them, a singular mixture of Yiddish Americana that exalts the gestalt of mid-twentieth century “Lawn Guyland.”

In celebration, HistoryMiami Museum presented South Beach, 1974-1990: Photographs of a Jewish Community, a group exhibition featuring more than 120 works by Gay Block, Gary Monroe, Richard Nagler, David Scheinbaum, and Andy Sweet.

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