Seydou Keïta (1921-2001) is considered one of the greatest Malian photographers of the second half of the twentieth century. A self-taught photographer, he opened a studio in 1948 and specialized in portraiture. Seydou Keïta soon photographed all of Bamako and his portraits gained a reputation for excellence throughout West Africa.
His numerous clients were drawn by the quality of his photos and his great sense of aesthetics. Many were young men, dressed in European style clothing. Some customers brought in items they wanted to be photographed with but Keita also had a choice of European clothing and accessories - watches, pens, radios, scooter, etc. - which he put at their disposal in his studio. The women came in flowing robes often covering their legs and their throats, only beginning to wear Western outfits in the late 60s.
Seydou Keïta worked primarily with daylight and for economic reasons took only a single shot for each picture.
Seydou Keïta was discovered in the West in the 1990s. His first solo exhibition took place in 1994 in Paris at the Fondation Cartier. This was followed by many others in various museums, galleries and foundations worldwide.
More reading: http://www.seydoukeitaphotographer.com