Seydou Keita is one of Mali’s famous photographers. He is known for his portraits of stylish men and women living in urban Bamako during the 1950s. Originally, Keita was a carpenter and was never professionally trained as a photographer. In 1945, his uncle gave him a camera as a gift and in 1948 he decided to open a studio, specializing in portraiture. His images are important and iconic because they showed a different image of Africa that the world normally did not see. His photographs show that people of Mali were modern urban citizens while simultaneously respecting their rural identity and tradition. He was very adamant for bringing out the beauty in his subjects, which I think he did extremely well.
“It’s easy to take a photo, but what really made a difference was that I always knew how to find the right position, and I never was wrong. Their head slightly turned, a serious face, the position of the hands… I was capable of making someone look really good. The photos were always very good. That’s why I always say that it’s a real art.” ~Seydou Keita