Photographie d’aujourd’hui. Une histoire orale [Photography Today: An Oral History]
18-21 November 2014, Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Stuttgart

The aim of this workshop was to bring together Malian, Senegalese and German photographers in order to stimulate discussion on the subject of their photographic practice. In addition to the photographers, researchers and students also participated in the workshop.

Photographers frequently make use of archival material and visual traditions connected with local and international cultures. Their practice forms part of a cross-cultural network that embraces both political and aesthetic concerns. Oral history and collective memory serve as source material that becomes an integral part of their work. In this way, photography is continually expanding and (re)producing new archives.

Organized by Marie-Hélène Gutberlet and Bärbel Küster.

Participants: Fatoumata Diabaté, Harandane Dicko, Élise Fitte-Duval, Mamadou Gomis, Lukas Einsele, Sybille Omlin, Ricarda Roggan, Djibril Sy and Malte Wandel.

In front of the Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste of Stuttgart
Opening of the workshop by Bärbel Küster
Marie-Hélène Gutberlet
Élise Fitte-Duval
Djibril Sy
Ricarda Roggan
Malika Diagana
Harandane Dicko
Malte Wandel and Lukas Einsele
Fatoumata Diabaté
Sybille Omlin and Bärbel Küster

The work of these photographers was the starting point for discussions, after which more conceptual aspects of the workshop and the organization of photography projects were considered. The theme of archives had already been selected as a focus for discussion – this was reinforced by the exhibition of the Walther Collection, which presented photographs primarily gathered from archival sources. In comparison to photographs from the archives of Malick Sidibé, Seydou Keïta and Mama Casset, whose work is now internationally renowned and is of central importance to the history of studio photography, the work of street photographers shows a radically different approach, as it brings photography out of the studio and into direct confrontation with society.

The importance of training was discussed at length, given that very few organizations devoted to training photographers exist in Mali and Senegal at this time. The position of photographers within the international art market was also addressed, including parallels drawn between the situation in Germany, Mali and Senegal in terms of obstacles encountered by photographers. The following questions were discussed: Are photographs – whether research-based photography, street photography or press photography – necessarily absorbed into the art market economy as soon as they are exhibited in any form? In what way does this affect the photographs themselves, and alter the way we look at works?

Discussions concluded with an exchange of different points of view regarding the African Encounters with Photography. This event – also known as the Bamako Photography Biennale – which has gained international recognition as a cradle of new African photography since it was founded in the 1990s, was the subject of lively debate among workshop participants in relation to the purpose and history of the event.

An essential component of the workshop was a tour (open to the general public) of the exhibition held at the Stadthaus in Ulm (November 20, 2014) given by the exhibition curators Bärbel Küster and Wiebke Ratzeburg, with the artists present. Audiences had the opportunity to speak directly to the photographers about their work. This visit also gave the Malian and Senegalese photographers an occasion to see their work exhibited at the Stadthaus, which also presented extracts of video interviews in which they had taken part some months earlier.

Tour of the Walther Collection in Neu-Ulm, 20 November 2014


Exhibition Prises de Dakar [Shots of Dakar], Staatliche Akademie der Bildenden Künste, Stuttgart
18-22 November 2014

Organized by Ferhat Ayne

Featuring works (photographs, installations and paintings) by Ferhat Ayne, Kasper Leisner, Marion Jäger and Alicia Hernandez Westpfahl

Interview with Harandane Dicko