My tribute to "L'Oeil de Bamako" - Malick Sidibe

Malick Sidibe's studio.
By Robin Taylor - Flickr: Malick Sidibe's studio, CC BY 2.0,

A great influence of mine has just passed away at the grand age of 80.

A superstar in Mali who played an important role in their cultural heritage.
His very distinctive black and white images remain fresh and exciting more than half a century later. Portrayed with a touch of humour, his pioneering portraits captured the spirit of the newly independent Mali, relishing its freedom and having entertainment.

Sidibe's modest and popular studio in Bagadadji, in Bamako, was a magnet for young people and families who wanted to show off their treasures. Be it their stylish sunglasses, a new pair of belted flared pants, a psychedelic shirt, a guitar, a motorbike with a mother, father and child posing upon it, a new braided hairdo or simply a smile.

Malick Sidebe portrait work.

His death marks the end of a remarkable era in African and world photography.

But as Sidibe himself said — "I believe the photograph is the best way to live on, after death."

Another Malick Sidebe portrait work.