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African Photography: Photojournalism, Part 3

Posted in Photography  |  January 16, 2016

African Photography: Photojournalism, Part 3
In the 1970s, African photographers who experienced war of independence in their country left the confine of their studios and began taking news photos. Interested in the record of many tragic events such as social unrest and military repression, photographers never stopped their struggle to publish images of the realities of life in their countries throughout the world. When they sometimes made the headlines, their images generated a real concern over the harsh reality depicted.

Ricardo Rangel

Ricardo Rangel was born in 1924 in Lourenço Marques – now Maputo, where he began his photographic career as a darkroom assistant in the late 1940s. In 1952, he joined the newspaper Notícias da Tarde as a photographer. Working as the first colored employee of a Mozambican paper, he covered events and places that were hardly accessible to white staffers. His photographic work often depicts harshness of life with images featuring abused street children and flooded urban townships. In 1960, Rangel led the department of photography at the daily newspaper A Tribuna. Five years later, he moved to Beira and worked as a photojournalist for several newspapers of the city. In 1970, he helped found Tempo, the first full-color magazine of the country for journalists opposed to the colonial regime. Several images published by the magazine contrasted with those of colonial propaganda, and were banned by Portuguese government censors. After Mozambique had won his independence in 1975, Rangel’s work began to be noticed outside of the country. He participated at several African events such as Bamako Encounters, and his work is exhibited in several European galleries and museums.

Sad Eyed Model by Ricardo Rangel

Kok Nam

Kok Nam was born in 1939 in Lourenço Marques, Mozambique in a family of Chinese immigrants who settled in the country several years ago. He developed an interest for photography at an early age when working in the laboratory of Studio Focus. In 1966, Kok Nam began his career as a photographic reporter for Diario de Moçambique, and his work was also published in several newspapers. Two years later, he started to work for the main national newspaper Noticias as well as Noticias da Tarde where he befriended Ricardo Rangel who will become his mentor. In 1970, Kok Nam helped establish the weekly magazine Tempo with a group of journalists. He covered several local events and documented the life of the soldiers and leaders of Frelimo – the Mozambique Liberation Front. Through its articles the magazine positioned itself against the colonial regime and remained influential even after the independence of the country. In 1981, Kok Nam co-founded and directed the Mozambican Photography Association. Ten years later, he co-founded Mediacoop – the first independent media company of Mozambique with a group of journalists. His work has been published in several foreign newspapers including the New York Times, Time Magazine, the Observer, and the Independent.

Dany Be

Daniel Rakotoseheno, known as Dany Be was born in 1935 in Antananarivo, Madagascar. In 1956, he joined the French Army where he discovered photography while working as an assistant photographer. In 1959, Dany Be left the army and turned to photojournalism, working as photographer for the main newspaper of the country, Courrier de Madagascar. He also worked as correspondent for Gama and Sygma press agencies. Dany Be traveled the streets of the capital and many cities of the country in search of subjects for his reports. During two decades, he covered several socio-political events including the revolt of the homeless children of the city, and the series of student protests in 1972. His photojournalist’s career followed the ups and down of the country’s political situation. He even spent some time in jail in 1983 for causing disorder, and had his negatives confiscated by the authorities but he never gave up his work of recording events that have marked the island’s history. Dany Be stayed true to the black-and-white photography even after the advent of the color photography.