Al Jazeera English presents a new 6-episode series on Artscape, titled The New African Photography, which documents changes across the continent through the eyes of its photographers, in an effort to "take back control" of images of Africa with more nuanced, varied depictions of the continent, instead of the extremes we often get.
The first 5 episodes are now available online to watch, and are all embedded below (preceded by descriptions of each), with one more episode to go, which will air next week.
1. Invisible Borders (22 April 2013)
Nigerian Emeka Okereke is the founder of Invisible Borders, an annual photographic project that takes African artists on a road trip across the continent. Invisible Borders follows Emeka and fellow Nigerian photographer Lilian Novo on the most recent journey, from Nigeria through Cameroon and Gabon. Emeka says, “Everywhere we go in Africa, we see our generation talking about doing things for themselves. This is the time to actually go in and experiment.”
2. The Red Dress (29 April 2013)
Nigerian George Osodi is a former Fuji African Photographer of The Year Award winner who’s also been shortlisted at the SonyWorld Photography Awards. He’s renowned for his hauntingly beautiful pictures of the oil devastation in the Niger delta. “I think it’s my responsibility as the man with the camera to find a way to represent this [situation], so that it becomes appealing to whoever sees it. At first sight you’re like, ‘What a beauty,’ but then behind it is a huge Armageddon.” He hopes his latest project, in which he photographs Nigeria’s traditional monarchs, can offer a more positive way forward.
South African Neo Ntsoma is the first woman recipient of the CNN African Journalist Award for photography. She revisits DJ Cleo and the stars of South Africa’s new democratic dawn, to take new portraits and discover the effects of 20 years of freedom. Neo moved away from news because she didn’t want to reinforce African stereotypes. “My dream was to be an advertising photographer and take pictures of beautiful things. Black people feeling good about themselves, dressed well. But it was a picture that the apartheid regime didn’t want to show to the world. They wanted to paint black people as barbarians.”
Executive produced by Viva Riva director Djo Munga, Congolese Dreams follows photographer Baudouin Mouanda as he explores the idea of marriage in Congo. The Congolese photographer burst onto the global photographic scene with his colorful photographs of Brazzaville members of SAPE (The Society of Tastemakers and Elegant People). As Baudoin says, “Africa will surprise everyone. There are lots of images of war, so I want to show another image of Africa.”
Emmy-winning documentary director Francois Verster follows former street child Mario Macilau, as he uses photography to investigate the growing gap between rich and poor in Mozambique. “There is no longer a middle class in our country,” says Mario.
For more information, keep an eye on http://www.aljazeera.com/