|Malick Sidibé. Image courtesy of Antoine Tempé (2002) http://www.antoinetempe.com|
The retro quality, mixed prints, exaggerated posing, earnest expressions, and theatrical '60s & '70s stylings - all this makes me obsessed with MALICK SIDIBE'S photographs. They remind me of the bad-studio-portraits-gone-right my family used to take when I was a kid in Abidjan in the '80s - the faded fabric backgrounds, cheap carpets and tacky lino floors, wooden chairs, off-centre shots...
Malick Sidibé (born 1935 or 1936) is Malian photographer noted for his black-and-white studies of popular culture in the 1960s in Bamako. He was born in Soloba, Mali and completed his studies in design and jewelry in the École des Artisans Soudanais (now the Institut National des Arts) in Bamako. In 1955, he undertook an apprenticeship at Gérard Guillat-Guignard's Photo Service Boutique, also known as Gégé la pellicule.
In 1958, he opened his own studio (Studio Malick) in Bamako and specialized in documentary photography, focusing particularly on the youth culture of the Malian capital. In the 1970s, he turned towards the making of studio portraits.
Sidibé was able to increase his reputation through the first meetings on African photography in Mali in 1994. His work is now exhibited in Europe (for example, the Fondation Cartier in Paris), the United States and Japan. Many of Sidibé's photos are part of The Contemporary African Art Collection (CAAC) of Jean Pigozzi.
In 2008, Sidibé was awarded the ICP Infinity Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Some of these images look like Instagram (or represent the feeling Instagram tries to recreate with contemporary pictures). The girl with the shift dress and socks, I would wear that today; and the lady in braids and round sunglasses, that trend has never been more popular than now (round sunglasses are currently the Street Style feature in the NY Times). Then there are the male portraits and their look at us! attitude and unapologetic sense of flamboyance. All the vintage charm, Africanness, and sense of nostalgia - I eat it all up.