Thursday 19th September 2019
In the News

A Fascinating Look Into Africa’s Vanishing Photo Industry

For the last several years, French photographer Adrien Tache has travelled around Africa, photographing local portrait studios and the owners who are struggling to keep their businesses afloat.

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These business owners have made a living by shooting headshots, passport photos, weddings, birthdays, and other ceremonies important enough to be preserved on film.

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Sadly, as with most photo studios today, these businesses have felt the economic strain brought forth by digital imaging.

There’s not always a need for a professional photographer when digital cameras are now so cheap and easy to use.

In an interview with Lensculture, Adrien opened up about his work: “Nowadays, digital photography is used (almost) all around the world. But these photographers are still equipped with old silver-based cameras, equipment dating from the 70s and 80s.” “I met them everywhere: Mauritania, Guinea Conakry, Senegal, Mali and Burkina Faso.” Many of them have no formal training. Most are self-taught photographers who have started their businesses from the ground up.

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One photographer told Adrien, “We never had any photography training in our lives, we only learnt how to use our camera by ourselves. Once everyone gets their own camera, they won’t need us anymore.”

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Adrien goes on: “Feeling that I was between two pages of African photography history, I wanted to immortalize them with their third eye, inside their kitschy studios or outside, during wedding or ceremonies.”

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“These photos are my way of showing the realities of a business, a way of life, an era that is almost over.”

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A young Photographer from Southern France, photography has been Adrien’s passion since he was a teenager, especially during his trips to Asia. But when Adrien experienced the moving photography school “Atelier Nomade” in West Africa, his relation with photography changed tremendously and became more social and humanist.
Adrien has had various Gallery exhibitions in France; Visa Off 2013, Perpignan; Bièvres International Photography Exhibition (2013/2014); Portrait(S) 2013, Vichy; International Photography Exhibition (2013/2014), Bièvres; and Africajarc Festival.

May 13, 2016