7 African Photographers to Watch
Few regions remain as photographically misrepresented as Africa since, in the past, the most notable photographers who captured images from the continent were those from Europe and the United States. More recently, a range of African photographers is taking back control of their image with a more nuanced portrayal. Providing a glimpse of contemporary Africa through the camera lens, these artists give voice to their own experiences of their neighborhoods and communities.
If you are looking to explore the work of African photographers, Singulart is the right place. An online gallery with a unique approach to the artwork makers and collectors alike, it offers a vibrant space filled with new cultures and creativity. Representing contemporary artists from over 45 nationalities working in a variety of media and styles, Singulart offers a roster that is carefully curated and diverse.
Out of a significant number of African artists working in a range of media that Singulart promotes, we have a compiled a list of photographers whose work you should follow.
Featured image: Yannis Davy Guibinga – The Darkest Color III, 2017. All images courtesy of Singulart.
Yannis Davy Guibinga
A self-taught photographer from Libreville, Gabon who currently lives and works in Montréal, Canada, Yannis Davy Guibinga is known for fine art portraits that examine the diversity of the African continent and diaspora. From the spectrum of African identities to the exploration of Gabon’s youth, his work deals with underreported African stories.
Aiming to decolonize the portrayal of Africa and challenge stereotypical Western ideas, he examines African identities through the intersection of gender, sexuality or socioeconomic status. Using bold primary color palettes and the futuristic atmosphere, he seeks to demonstrate the diversity of identities of modern Africa.
A self-taught Moroccan photographer, Safaa Mazirh creates compelling black and white photographs that look at the body and movement. Her first ventured into the medium by photographing young children in remote villages of southern Morocco. Her black and white photographs are characterized by the tight framing and the play of light that creates unreal scenes.
Through her work, the artist draws the viewer into a universe where her imagination takes precedence over the reality. Fascinated by the movements of bodies on stage, Mazirh works with several theatre companies, often blurring the bodies and presenting them in a mysterious way.
A Nigerian visual artist and writer living and working between Berlin and Lagos, Emeka Okereke uses the medium of photography to explore the theme of “borders” and the complexities of life in contemporary Africa and the Diaspora. Describing himself as a “border being”, he explores the notion of borders as spaces that provide the terrain for new signs of identity.
He is a photographer and founder of Invisible Borders, a collaborative road-trip project that draws artists from various fields to engage with questions of photographic representation and image-making. Artists from different fields are invited to embark on a creative journey by road, across national borders in Africa and, more recently, Europe, in order to explore the interactions between the people and their environment.
A documentary photographer based in Cape Town, South Africa, Isabel Corthier ventured into photography by photographing for humanitarian organizations such as Caritas and Doctors Without Borders in Haiti and South Sudan. Since 2015, she has been working as a photography ambassador for Belgian Fujifilm. In her practice, she mainly focuses on social issues.
In her photographs, Corthier wants to show the humanity. Using bold colors, she creates photographs that serve as an ode to life and mankind.
Starting her photographic career in her native South Africa, Jillian Edelstein captures everyone from celebrity sitters to the victims of the current refugee crisis. Dedicated to documenting the truth, she gives a visibility to those who are overlooked and silenced. She is the most famous for documenting the testimonies of the truth and Reconciliation Commision in South Africa, recognizing the stories of both victims and assailants.
Her visual language spans from Avedon-esque black and white portraits to large-scale subdued color shots of vast landscapes and the people that inhabit them.
Regarded as one of South Africa’s most prominent photographers, Graeme Williams adapted the language of street photography in order to move beyond the documentary approach that he has previously used. The Huffington Post has named him one of the “10 international street photographers who change the way we see the world.” An astute observer of the world around him, he makes the mundane fascinating and far less intimidating.
With a career spanning 30 years, he has captured the likes of Mandela, but also those that society left behind. He is most famous for chronicling South Africa’s social and political changes, in particular, the country’s transition to democracy.
The practice of the Tunisian photographer Héla Ammar focuses on themes of memory and identity. The important aspect of her work is the exploration of the feminine identity in the Arabic Mediterranean cultures.
Her work questions the very notion of identity by challenging the conventional social, political and religious references, but also the Orientalist imaging of a former colony through re-appropriation. Layering her portraits with architectural details, she provides female identities with softness and reduces the violence of her commentaries.