Van Gelder. Alex, editor.

ISBN 10: 0714845132 / ISBN 13: 9780714845135
Published by New York & London: Phaidon Press, (2005) dj, 2005
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Hardcover first edition - First printing. Edited and with a Preface by Alex Van Gelder. Introduction by Thomas Seelig. Essay on "Life and afterlife in Benin" by Okwui Enwezor. Black and white photographs by nine Benin photographers - Benoit Adjovi, Jean Agbetagbo, Joseph Moise Agbodjelou, Bouraima Akodji, L on Ayekoni, Christophe Mahoukpe, S bastien Mehinto and others - most from the 1960s and 1970s. Published in conjunction with an exhibition at the Fotomuseum, Winterthur, Switzerland. Large format. 132 pp plus final photograph and biographies. . Fine in fine dust jacket (a new copy.). Bookseller Inventory # 61509

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Publisher: New York & London: Phaidon Press, (2005) dj

Publication Date: 2005

Binding: Hardcover

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Edition: 1st Edition

About this title


This collection of portraiture, comprising the work of nine photographers from Benin, mostly working during the 1960's and 1970's, opens a new chapter in the history of African photography.
Most people's knowledge of West African photography is limited to the Bamako school of Mali, whose masters Seydou Keita and Malick Sidibe were widely discovered at the beginning of the 1990's. But where Keita and Sidibe worked predominantly to establish the modernity of their lives, here in Benin, photographers such as Sebastien Mehinto (otherwise known as Pigeon) often travelled miles by bicycle to find their clients in far-flung villages, and sometimes developed their exquisitely crafted photographs in makeshift darkrooms constructed in the bush. Marked by dark dramas and deep mysticisms, their portraits record a people caught between a pre-colonial past and a post-colonial future. For many of the people in the photographs it would be their first and last encounter with a photographer. Amongst the weddings and communions, the courting couples and proud parents, lie astonishing images of revenants and ju-ju men; voodoo priests and priestesses; thieves and murderers; prostitutes and pimps - and most startlingly, an extraordinary sequence of apresmort or deathbed portraits. For if you happened to live in the People's Republic of Benin (formerly known as the Kingdom of Dahomey) during the 1960's and 1970's, photography was likely to play a role not just in your life - but in your afterlife.
It is a commonly held belief, and source of fear, in many African cultures that a person's soul lives on, trapped, within the photograph. In Benin, with its mixed spiritual traditions of Catholicism and voodoo (born in Benin and now its official religion), the photograph came to play a fascinating role in rituals of death. The Catholic and colonial legacy of funerary portraiture, joined to a traditionally African belief that the photograph steals the spirit, created the context for some of these photographs, which exist to mediate between the living and the dead.

About the Author:

Okwui Enwezor is a poet, a critic and the curator of many influential exhibitions including Documenta 11 in Kassel, Germany, in 2002. He is Visiting Professor at the Universities of Columbia, Pittsburgh, and Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Alex van Gelder is an artist, a poet and a collector of African art, who has, since 2000, discovered and conserved the work of a number of photographers active in Benin during the post-war period.

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Store Description - the name used by Volk and Iiams, Booksellers- specializes in first editions of twentieth century literature, with an emphasis on women authors, African American, Native American and Latin American authors - plus mystery & detective fiction, science fiction & fantasy, poetry and children's & illustrated books. We try to offer many uncommon books, and have a large selection of first books, and books by authors who are less frequently collected. Of the approximately 50,000 volumes in stock, the majority are hardcover first editions, although we also stock vintage science fiction paperbacks as well as sf digests and pulps. We also have a large selection of books signed by the author and uncorrected proof copies. Less than 50% of our stock is catalogued, so please inquire if you are searching for specific titles. Selling books by mail order and on the internet since 1993. We have a large booth dedicated to books (called Books Upstairs) at the Antiques Upstairs Mall, 5 Main Street, Jackson, CA. (open every day from 10-5) The emphasis there is on Western Americana, children¿s books and inexpensive reading copies. In 1998 we relocated our main business from Sacramento to the Sierra foothills of Amador County, about 35 miles east of downtown Sacramento and between Ione & Sutter Creek. There, on 10 acres of rolling oak-covered hills, we built a ¿bookhouse¿ for our books. When we are there, we welcome visitors by appointment (call 209-274-6960 or, in the US only, toll free at 1-877-bookfev or contact us by email Our web page is Traditional bookseller grading used - fine is our highest grade (an "A"), very good is above average (a "B), good is average (a "C"). All significant flaws are described; dust jackets are protected by archival covers, and books are packed carefully for shipping. We welcome questions by email or phone.

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