The Expanded Subject

New Perspectives in Photographic Portraiture from Africa



ISBN: 9783777426327 Category:

Sandrine Colard, Giulia Paoletti


From 19th-century studio practice through the independence era, African photography has best been known for modes of portraiture that crystallize the sitter’s identity and social milieu. Even portraits by contemporary artists are often interpreted as windows into African realities. This exhibition reconsiders African contemporary photographic portraiture by presenting four practitioners whose concerns range well beyond questions of social identity. Sammy Baloji, Mohamed Camara, Sa├»dou Dicko, and George Osodi expand their subjects’ interpretive possibilities, exemplifying a new creativity and versatility in portrait-making. While each artist employs different strategies, they all challenge the assumption that photographic portraits serve as mirrors of the “self.” Baloji’s montages dislocate the subject historically, Camara probes the boundaries of the portrait genre, Dicko expresses uncertainty at the possibility of representation, and Osodi engages his subjects as platforms for political commentary. The four artists enlist portraiture as a point of departure for exploring subjectivity, history, and photographic form. The Expanded Subject offers new insights into the expressive and conceptual range of African photo-portraiture today.

Additional information

Weight 720 g
Dimensions 21 x 26.1 cm
Publisher name Hirmer Verlag GmbH
Publication date 15 March 2017
Number of pages 128
Format Hardback
Contributors Edited by Joshua I Cohen
Dimensions 21 x 26.1 cm
Weight 720 g


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