Podcast: Africa State of Mind, with Ekow Eshun

This week on the B&H Photography Podcast, we welcome journalist, curator, and author Ekow Eshun to discuss his incredible new book, Africa State of Mind.

With more than 250 photographs by fifty photographers, the book is a gorgeous collection of contemporary art photography from throughout Africa. Established artists such as Pieter Hugo and Zanele Muholi are profiled, along with many lesser-known photographers working in (and between) a range of genres. Supported by Eshun’s insightful commentary, the book delves into the unique voices depicting their Africa experience today.

Our conversation begins with the master portrait photographers of the mid 20th century, such as Malick Sidibé, but quickly jumps to the contemporary as we ask about his research for the book, the book’s four intriguing sections, and the common threads that tie together the varied photographers’ work.

"I was really interested in photographers who aren't interested in reality per se… who don't claim that their photos are what is!" Like our conversation, this book offers an introduction to the artists, from Morocco to South Africa, who are utilizing their subjective experiences and particular talents to reimagine what it means to be African. Join us for this informative and enjoyable discussion.

Guest: Ekow Eshun

Ditaola VII, 2014 © Mohau Modisakeng
Ditaola VII, 2014 © Mohau Modisakeng
Afrikan Boy Sittin’, 2013 © Hassan Hajjaj
Afrikan Boy Sittin’, 2013 © Hassan Hajjaj
People washing their clothes in the swimming pool of The Grande, a once luxurious hotel in Beira, Mozambique, 2013 © Guillaume Bonn
People washing their clothes in the swimming pool of The Grande, a once luxurious hotel in Beira, Mozambique, 2013 © Guillaume Bonn
Swimming Pool III, Bamako, 2009 © François-Xavier Gbré
Swimming Pool III, Bamako, 2009 © François-Xavier Gbré
Nana and Razak, 2016 © Eric Gyamfi
Nana and Razak, 2016 © Eric Gyamfi
Bhekezakhe, Parktown, 2016 © Zanele Muholi. Courtesy of Stevenson, Cape Town/Johannesburg and Yancey Richardson, New York
Bhekezakhe, Parktown, 2016 © Zanele Muholi. Courtesy of Stevenson, Cape Town/Johannesburg and Yancey Richardson, New York
This is how you start a party! 2017 © Musa N. Nxumalo
This is how you start a party! 2017 © Musa N. Nxumalo
Kingsley Ossai, Nsukka, Enugu state, Nigeria, 2017 © Ruth Ossai
Kingsley Ossai, Nsukka, Enugu state, Nigeria, 2017 © Ruth Ossai
Night of the Long Knives I, 2013 © Athi-Patra Ruga. Courtesy WHATIFTHEWORLD
Night of the Long Knives I, 2013 © Athi-Patra Ruga. Courtesy WHATIFTHEWORLD
Untitled, 2012 © Nobukho Nqaba
Untitled, 2012 © Nobukho Nqaba
Eleventh, 2018 © Lina Iris Viktor, 2018. Courtesy the Artist and Marianne Ibrahim Gallery, Chicago
Eleventh, 2018 © Lina Iris Viktor, 2018. Courtesy the Artist and Marianne Ibrahim Gallery, Chicago
Mevetwapi Joya, Kunene Region, Namibia, 2015 © Kyle Weeks
Mevetwapi Joya, Kunene Region, Namibia, 2015 © Kyle Weeks
Ekow Eshun © Antonio Olmos
Ekow Eshun © Antonio Olmos

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