Monday Moodboard: Seydou Keita

17th March, 2014

I’ve long idolized the work of African portraitist Seydou Keita, a self-taught photographer who opened his first studio in 1948 behind the prison in Bamako, Mali. Discovered by the West in 1990 (he died in Paris in 2001), Keita is universally recognized as the father of African photography and one of the greatest photographers of the 20th century. I especially adore his portraits of women, the way he shot them with an invariable air of casual elegance ~ how he always saw them in their colorfully patterned, bejeweled Sunday best, yet the clothes never obscured the person. He showed them as real but regal; his subjects always possessed great dignity in his lens.

Seydou Keita’s photographs were the inspiration behind this week’s fashion story, but before we share that with you (tomorrow!), I give you the original vision of this unmatched master… SeydouKeita2 SeydouKeita3 SeydouKeita4 SeydouKeita5 SeydouKeita6 SeydouKeita7 SeydouKeita8 SeydouKeita9 SeydouKeita10|IMAGES VIA|

  • Tracy

    Great pictures, I would like to know more about the story behind them!

  • Sasa Zoe

    Amazing photos and post:)

    New on

  • Dana Jo

    Wonderful pictures of beautiful ladies! Like Tracy I would like to know the story behind them.
    The black-white pictures are awesome but what a pitty we could not see the very powerful colorful pattern of their clothes :)

    • Sarah

      I disagree, I think these photos are gorgeous as-is. I wonder if people thinking it’s a pitty to not see the colors are saying so out of a desire to exoticize these women rather than seem them as the beautiful human souls they are, connected with all our souls.

      • Dana Jo

        I just think the colors are very worth seeing because they are very expressive, lively and light.
        Have no desire to exoticize them. The colors are a very big part of their colorful world they are living in.

        • Guestt

          you may not have that desire, or it may be that you don’t realize you have that desire. if you’re white, then your white privilege is probably blinding you. Always deeply question your assumptions and why you desire things, no matter how uncomfortable it feels, it’s the right thing to do.

  • Mafalda

    Thanks for this discovery, I’d never heard of this photographer. The portraits are amazing.

    Mafalda ❤

  • Shopopal

    Great pictures! Love the different fabrics and prints! Simply stunning!

  • Cristina Monti
  • Elisa Taviti

    Great images!

    xx, Elisa
    My Fantabulous World

  • Cheyenne
  • Dominique
  • Miss J.
  • Tina Beanie

    Lovely vintage photos! I enjoying seeing the different styles of photographers in different places in time. Those bracelets on the lady in the polka dot frilly top have me now searching for a similar vintage pair! :-)

  • Lady ID

    Cool. I’d never heard of him but I will look him up.

  • Liz

    these tell an amazing story!

    xo, Liz