The Exhibition at the Grand Palais
The African Photographer who died in Paris in 2001, has his body of work on display at the Grand Palais in Paris right now until July 11
His story is captivating. Born in 1921, Seydou Keïta lived in Mali. He taught himself photography and opened his own studio in 1948 at the age of 27.
He loved taking portrait shots and quickly built a reputation of excellence throughout West Africa.
Due to his lack of funds Keïta could only take a single shot for each picture but his strike rate was extraordinary. He managed to captured the essence of his subjects, with a depth that felt so very personal and intimate. He considered the setting, the backgrounds, the poses and delivered a rawness which, made his images distinct.
The western world eventually uncovered Keïta’s gift, for capturing his people so beautifully. His first exhibition outside of Africa was in 1994 at the age of 73 in Paris at the Foundation Cartier.
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.
Since then, his work has been shown all over the world. He is now universally recognised as one of the finest photographers of the 20th century and the father of African photography.
Seydou Keïta died in Paris at the age of 80.
See his Photography Show in Paris at the Grand Palais. On until July 11, 2016
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