Todd Webb in Africa

Outside The Frame


Join one of the 20th century’s great photographers on a journey through eight African countries on the cusp of independence post World War II


ISBN: 9780500545393 Category:

Aimée Bessire, Erin Hyde Nolan


Todd Webb is largely known for his skillful photographic documentation of everyday life and architecture in cities, most notably New York and Paris, as well as his photographs of the American West. This new book showcases a different side of Webb’s work, taken from an assignment that took him to eight African countries.

In 1958, Webb was invited by the United Nations to document Togoland (now Togo), Ghana, Kenya, the Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland (now Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi), Somaliland (now Somalia), Sudan, Tanganyika and Zanzibar (now merged as Tanzania) over a five-month assignment. Equipped with three cameras and briefed to document industrial progress, he returned with approximately 1,500 colour negatives, but less than twenty of them were published, in black and white, by the United Nations Department of Public Information. The archive was then lost for over fifty years and was only rediscovered by the Todd Webb Archive in 2017.

Todd Webb in Africa includes over 150 striking colour photographs from Webb’s African United Nations assignment. This book, and an accompanying touring exhibition, provides expert insight into Webb’s images with contributions by both African and American scholars. Accompanying essays place the photographs in their historical and artistic moment, and provide crucial insight into the role of photography in visualizing national independence and ingrained imperialism.

With 203 illustrations in colour

Additional information

Weight 1878 g
Dimensions 25.7 x 30.7 cm
Publisher name Thames and Hudson Ltd
Publication date 21 January 2021
Number of pages 256
Format Hardback
Contributors Contributions by Ali Jimale Ahmed, James Barnor, Rehema Chachage, Betsy Evans Hunt, Christraud M. Geary, Jan-Lodewijk Grootaers, Emmanuel Iduma, Casey Riley, and Gary van Wyk
Dimensions 25.7 x 30.7 cm
Weight 1878 g


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Todd Webb (1905-2000) was an American photographer active from the late 1930s to the 1980s whose work has attained an important place in the annals of American photographic history. Previous books on Todd Webb include I See A City, also published by Thames & Hudson.
Aimée Bessire is Professor of African art history and cultural studies at Bates College in Maine. She has co-curated exhibitions including 'The Art of Identity: African Sculpture from the Teel Collection' (Fogg Museum, Harvard 1996) and 'Convulsive Beauty: The Impact of Surrealism on American Art' (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York 1988).
Erin Hyde Nolan is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Maine College of Art, where she teaches the history of photography and visual culture. She was the manager of the Todd Webb Archive from 2010 to 2015.