Books on African Photography / Photographers

March 26th, 2010

African Photography

a selection of books on African photographers/photography

I just received my review copy of Zwelethu Mthethwa’s monograph published by Aperture. So excited! This is his first monograph and a monograph I have been waiting for for years. Joerg Colberg recently reviewed the book on his blog Conscientious and my review will be published by photo-eye. Colberg, or anyone for that matter, should definitely not be looking at traditional media for guidance in learning about the nuances, diversity, vibrant culture, art, and photographic discourse of Africa. About the monograph he said, “I really hope that Zwelethu Mthethwa will not be the last book of its kind, showcasing photography done by African artists. We need to see more.” I agree, in the sense that we need more monographs. Where are monographs for Lolo Veleko and Philip Kwame Apagya for example.

My interest in contemporary African photography developed in graduate school. Okwui Enwezor is my favorite curator. Half of my photography collection is dedicated to African photographers and I have a wide range of books on African photography. In light of Colberg’s search and a recent #photohistory discussion on Twitter, I wanted to offer a partial list of books dedicated to African photography from my library – a good place to start for anyone interested in this history of photography.

Snap Judgments (ICP/Steidl, 2006)

Rencontres Bamako 1998, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009

Anthology of African & Indian Ocean Photography (Revue Noire, 1998)

In/sight: African Photographers 1940 to the Present (Guggenheim Museum, 2003)

The Short Century (Prestel, 2001)

Flash Afrique! Photography from West Africa (Steidl, 2002)

You Look Beautiful Like That: The Portrait Photographs of Seydou Keita and Malick Sidibe (Harvard Art Museum, 2001)

Africa Inside (Noorderlicht, 2000)

Malick Sidibe: Photographs (Steidl/Hasselblad Center, 2004)

J.D. ‘Okhai Ojeikere Photographs (Scalo, 2000)

Fifty-One Years: David Goldblatt (Actar, 2001)

“Talk of the Town: Seydou Keita” by Manthia Diawara in Reading the Contemporary: African Art from Theory to the Marketplace (MIT Press, 1999)

Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art

and of course Zwelethu Mthethwa (Aperture, 2010)

And you can read about James Pomerantz’s class on African Photography on his blog A Photo Student.

I would love to hear from anyone about this subject. Please get in touch if you are a photographer, curator, writer, scholar, etc. I am specifically interested in what material/photographers are out there from East Africa.

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