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Seydou Keïta

Untitled (Le photographe), c.1952-1955

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Lot 4
Gelatin silver print
21.9 x 15.3 in (55.5 x 39.0 cm)
Signed and inscribed on recto
Printed in 1997


This work ships from the United Kingdom.


Seydou Keïta was a self-taught photographer from Bamako, Mali who specialized in black and white portraiture. Keïta photographed many friends, family, and neighbors from Bamako, capturing both traditional Malian garb, as well as European style clothing. The photos taken by Keïta are recognized as one of the only records of Malian society.

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About Seydou Keïta

Seydou Keïta (Malian, 1921–2001), is considered to be one of the important pioneers of African photography. His photographs eloquently portray Bamako society during its era of transition from a cosmopolitan French colony to an independent capital. Initially trained by his father to be a carpenter, Keïta’s career as a photographer was launched in 1935 by an uncle who gave him his first camera. In 1948 he opened his own studio, quickly establishing a successful business. Whether photographing individuals, families, or professional associations, Keïta balanced a strict sense of formality with a remarkable level of intimacy with his subjects.