about us

Kinshasa, DRC, 1960s. Jean Depara. Courtesy Baudouin Bikoko

Photography of West Africa and beyond, 1840 to now

This website is dedicated to all African photographers who since the 19th century have profoundly contributed to the visual creation of the continent, as well as to all who are interested in the history of African photography.

The history of West and Central African indigenous photography began in the 1850s and 60s when Africans opened studios in seaports such as Freetown, Monrovia or Accra or worked as itinerant photographers along the West and Central African coasts and the hinterland. Of their contributions to the historical creative record, and the extent to which they contributed to the visual fabric of the 19th and 20th centuries, we have only begun to recognize and take stock.

Given the importance of African historical photographs for West and Central African history and history of visual culture, it is lamentable that the photographs themselves and the information referring to them are widely scattered in repositories in Africa, Europe, and the United States. Evidently, the material to write a history of African photography is “there” – yet too often we do not know where exactly to find it.

AFRICAPHOTOGRAPHY.ORG is offering a platform to all those Institutions and individuals who wish to make public their collections of historical photographs from Africa. It will present to audiences on the African continent, and indeed for anyone distant from the location of a physical archive, access to an array of astonishing imagery.

AFRICAPHOTOGRAPHY.ORG aims at being the first place on the internet to go for scholars, specialists, and devotees seeking to offer and exchange information on the history of African photography and African historical photographs.

AFRICAPHOTOGRAPHY.ORG connects institutions and individuals working with and interested in African photography worldwide.

The website is work in progress and will eventually feature an image database, a bibliography as well as a number of online articles, information concerning other relevant websites or databases and a space where institutions and individuals working with historical photographs from Africa can present their work interests and expertise.

The website is a project of African Photography Initiatives

Copyright Information For any public and private use, all images and copyright are held by publishers and owners, as noted under our ‘Rights Management’ policy. For private or educational use, copyright and owner credit must be acknowledged, as seen to the right of each image.  For publication, distribution or other public use, be advised that all individuals and organisations require permission; some require fees. In all cases photographs and copyright must be credited.