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Ana Raquel Fernandes

Pan‐Africanist and the first black person to hold civic office in Britain. He was born in Liverpool, the son of a Barbadian, Richard Archer, and an Irishwoman, Mary Theresa Burns, but little is known of his early life, though he is believed to have lived in North America and the West Indies. Around 1898 he and his African‐Canadian wife, Bertha, moved to Battersea, south London, where Archer established a photographic studio. His concern to eradicate social and racial injustices led to a lifelong career in local government and national and global politics. In 1906 he was elected as a Progressive (Liberal) councillor for the Latchmere ward, and in 1913 Archer became Mayor of Battersea, Britain's first black mayor. His interest in colonial politics led to his involvement in Pan‐Africanism. In 1900 he joined the Pan African Association and he was a significant presence at the ...

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Nancy T. Robinson

historian, collector, archivist, photographer, and entrepreneur, was born Wallace Michael Branch in Brooklyn, New York, one of two sons of Byrd Branch, an entrepreneur who operated a cleaning and tailoring business in New York City and held down a thirty-five-year job at the weekly newspaper Irish Echo to support his family, and Vera Barbour Branch. In Brooklyn, Branch and his family lived a solid middle-class lifestyle, making their home in a four-floor brownstone home that they owned.

Branch was born with sickle cell anemia a hereditary incurable chronic disorder with which patients suffer severe pain and tissue and organ damage as a result of oxygen and nutrient deficiencies At the time of Branch s birth information about and treatment of the disease were limited According to his family doctors who treated Branch as a child never gave him much hope for survival At fourteen Branch became so ill that he ...

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Samuel W. Black

photographer and fraternal leader, was born in Kearneysville, West Virginia, the eleventh of thirteen children of Allen Cole, a wagon maker, blacksmith, and carpenter, and Sarah Jenkins Cole. The Cole family numbered among the 4,045 African Americans in Jefferson County, West Virginia's most populous county in 1880. Although he came from a humble background, the elder Cole was able to send some of his children to Storer College in Harpers Ferry, eight miles east of Kearneysville. Allen “Allie” Cole was enrolled at Storer in October 1900, following his older brother Hughes and older sister Lucy, both of whom attended in the early 1890s. The first school of higher education for African Americans in West Virginia, Storer College was founded in Harpers Ferry in 1867 under the condition that it did not discriminate by race gender or color At Storer Cole completed courses in industrial ...

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Darren Newbury

South African photographer, was born Ernest Levi Tsoloane Kole on 21 March 1940 in Eersterust, a township on the outskirts of Pretoria. He was the fourth of six children. His father had migrated from a rural area and worked as a tailor; his mother was a laundress for white families in Pretoria. His early life was shaped by apartheid. He left school shortly after the introduction of the Bantu Education Act (1953), which severely restricted the educational opportunities of black South Africans, continuing his education by correspondence through Wolsey Hall, Oxford. In 1960, his family was forced to relocate to the new black township of Mamelodi when Eersterust was declared a Coloured area under the Group Areas Act (1950).

Cole s interest in photography began at a young age He was given his first camera by a Catholic priest and by his early teenage years ...

Article

Donna M. Wells

photographer, journalist, and diplomat, was born on the campus of Atlanta University (later Clark Atlanta University), in Atlanta, Georgia. He attended Oglethorpe Laboratory Elementary School, a practice school on the campus. Davis's professional career began in high school and continued until his retirement in 1985. He was first introduced to photography by William (Bill) Brown, an instructor at the Atlanta University Laboratory High School where Davis was a student. Throughout high school and later as a student at Morehouse, Davis supported himself through photography assignments from local newspapers and public relations firms.

Davis's college education was suspended in 1944 when he joined the armed forces during World War II and fought with the Ninety-second Infantry Division in Italy. After his tour, Griffith returned to Atlanta in 1946 and continued his college studies. He befriended writer and professor Langston Hughes and civil rights activist and ...

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Darren Newbury

photographer, was born on 17 May 1874 in Innishannon, County Cork, Ireland, the son of a resident magistrate. Educated at Mount Saint Mary’s College, a Jesuit school in Derbyshire, England, as a young man he began training for the priesthood. In 1897, however, he had a change of heart and left for South Africa, finding work as a compound guard on the diamond mines of the De Beers Company in Kimberley. He later worked in the dispensary of the compound hospital and the copy room at the company’s head office, as well as serving in both the Anglo-Boer War and World War I.

It was on a return trip to Europe in 1904 that he became interested in photography buying a simple box camera and making his first photographs in Madeira He soon mastered the technical side of the medium and became a keen amateur photographing scenery botany ...

Article

John Hanson Mitchell

photographer and naturalist, was born in Natural Bridge, Virginia. His parents' names and occupations are unknown. In 1881, after attending primary schools in Lexington, Virginia, Gilbert was taken by his family to Lynchburg, Virginia, to complete his education. In 1886 he followed his brother William north to Boston, where he found employment as a porter on the Portland Boston steamship line. He would work various odd jobs until 1896, when psychologist James Chadbourne hired him to help with laboratory rats. Gilbert, as he was generally known in the Boston white community, also took a temporary job setting up a bird museum in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with the renowned nineteenth-century ornithologist William Brewster. Brewster subsequently hired Gilbert as a full-time manservant, field assistant, factotum, and, as some of the early private journal records state, “friend,” to the well-respected Brewster.

Under Brewster s tutelage Gilbert learned how to develop ...

Article

Darren Newbury

South African photographer, was born on 29 November 1930 in Randfontein, a small gold-mining town to the west of Johannesburg, where his father owned a men’s clothing store. He was the youngest son of Eli Goldblatt and Olga Light, who came to South Africa as children with their parents, Jewish immigrants escaping anti-Semitism and persecution in Lithuania. As a child he developed a keen sense of social justice, shaped by his parents’ liberal values, his own experiences of anti-Semitism, and his observations of the treatment of black Africans at the police station near where he lived. He graduated from Krugersdorp High School in 1948, the year the National Party came to power.

Goldblatt became interested in photography while still at school, and his ambition to become a photographer was shaped by reading pictorial magazines from the United States and Britain such as Life, Look, and Picture Post ...

Article

Lisa Aronson and Martha Anderson

professional photographer, was born in Bonny, Nigeria, in 1873 the son of a successful Ibani Ijo palm oil trader named Chief Sunju Dublin Green who worked closely with expatriate traders and missionaries These relationships may have greatly benefited his son s career The imported obelisk style tombstone that marks Green s grave in his hometown of Bonny identifies him as a professional artist photographer His only known self portrait shows him at the age of twenty one dressed in a respectable Western style suit vest and necktie with a boutonniere in his lapel Green attended the Church Missionary Society CMS High School in Bonny and it may have been Sierra Leonians affiliated with the CMS who taught him photography He served as the primary photographer for the British as well as his own people between the early 1890s and his untimely death at the age of thirty two Although ...

Article

Joseph C. E. Adande

Beninese artist, was born in the Republic of Benin, formerly Dahomey. Hazoumé was the name of his great-grandfather. As of 2011, Romuald Hazoumé lived in Cotonou but also had a workshop in Porto Novo. In the early twenty-first century he stands as one of the key figures of contemporary art in West Africa, not to mention in Africa as a whole. He has exhibited on all of the continents, and his work is included in the Pigozzi Collection of Contemporary African Art in Geneva, Switzerland. His La Bouche du Roi, in which he gives a contemporary interpretation of a 1789 image of a slave ship, has been purchased by the British Museum. Hazoumé has been awarded two important distinctions: the George Maciunas Prize, in Wiesbaden, Germany, in 1996, and the Arnold Bode Prize in 2007 by the 12th Documenta in Kassel Germany He is a multi ...

Article

Darren Newbury

Malian photographer, was born around 1921 in Bamako, Mali (then part of French Sudan), the eldest of five children. His father was a skilled tradesman, and at a young age Keïta became an apprentice, soon developing into a proficient cabinet maker. Keïta was close to his uncle Tièmòkò, and when the latter returned from a family visit to Senegal with a camera, the young Keïta persuaded his uncle to let him have it as a present.

His first efforts with the camera were unsuccessful and many of the images were poorly exposed or blurred but he persisted Although never formally trained he did receive guidance and support locally Pierre Garnier who ran Bamako s earliest photographic shop and studio Photo Hall Soudanais offered him technical advice and encouraged him to learn to develop and print In the later 1940s Mountaga Dembélé an early Malian studio photographer allowed him to use ...

Article

Eric Bennett

Seydou Keita was born in the French Sudan (present-day Mali) and lived his entire life in his hometown of Bamako. There, from 1945 to 1977 , he created photographic portraits of thousands of locals and visitors. His work comprehensively documents the changing styles and social mores of urban West Africa during the decades when Mali underwent the transition from French colony to independent nation.

As an adolescent, Keita learned carpentry and embarked on a career as a cabinetmaker. In 1945, however, when an uncle returned from Senegal with a six by nine inch Kodak box camera Keita fell in love with photography and quickly learned its fundamentals At the time there were few photographers in Bamako but Keita learned to develop and print from French expatriate Pierre Garnier who ran a studio and photo supply shop After practicing the basics on family and friends he studied ...

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Livia Apa

Angolan photographer, documentarist, and filmmaker, was born on 30 July 1976 in Benguela, Angola. When he was eight years old, his family moved to Portugal. Although Liberdade stayed in Portugal, he often visited Angola for professional reasons. He graduated with a degree in cultural marketing from the Universidade Lusófona of Lisbon, and also attended some courses for a master’s degree in African studies in the Instituto Superior de Ciências do Trabalho e da Empresa (ISCTE) in Lisbon. Liberdade attended a course of cine-video in the Instituto Superior de Artes Design, Marketing e Publicidade (IADE) of the Portuguese capital. At the age of twenty, he produced his first documentary, O Rap è Uma Arma 1996 which follows rappers living in the suburbs of Lisbon These suburban spaces usually known for their violence are presented in Liberdade s film as places of extreme cultural vitality He won the prize for best ...

Article

Darren Newbury

South African photographer, was born on 18 January 1932 in Vrededorp, Johannesburg. He grew up in the suburb of Sophiatown, the cultural center of urban black life in Johannesburg until its destruction in the 1950s under the Group Areas Act. He was educated first at the Lutheran School and then at Western Native High School. His father sold fruit and vegetables from a cart, and at weekends he would go with him to Johannesburg’s white suburbs. His family had a strong sense of independence, and conflicts with the authorities over passes and trading licences were a feature of his early life. The tough environment of Sophiatown also influenced his decision to train as a boxer.

His interest in photography began while still at school, when his father gave him a Kodak Brownie; but it was not until he came across Drum magazine that he began to think of ...

Article

Donna M. Wells

photographer, was born in Washington, D.C., into a middle-class family. His father was a physician, and his mother was an educator. In the 1930s he attended Dunbar High School, where his classmates included future photographers Harrison Allen and brothers Bobby and George Scurlock, sons of prominent African American photographer Addison Scurlock. Allen recalled that on several occasions the boys walked from school to Scurlock's photography studio at Ninth and U Streets to watch him work. This sparked their interest in pursuing photography, first as a hobby, then as a career. The Scurlocks later took over their father's studio, and Allen became a photographer for the Department of Labor.

McNeill entered Howard University as a pre-med student but kept up his skills by photographing campus events, particularly celebrity visitors to the university. When Olympic track star Jesse Owens made a campus visit McNeill snapped a picture of ...

Article

Kim Miller

photographer and activist, was born on 19 July 1972 in Umlazi, Durban, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Muholi studied advanced photography at the Market Photo Workshop in Newtown, Johannesburg. From 2007–2009 she studied Documentary Media at Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada. Since the end of apartheid, Muholi has commented on the near total lack of visual and textual representation of people from the black lesbian community within South Africa during that country's historic antiapartheid struggle. At that time, the black lesbian community, Muholi included, was physically isolated from the urban centers where LGBT organizations and resources were located.

As an activist, she was a cofounder of the Forum for the Empowerment of Women (FEW), a nonprofit black lesbian advocacy organization based in Johannesburg. She has worked as a photographer and reporter for Behind the Mask an online magazine on lesbian and gay issues in Africa Muholi has received a number ...

Article

Prentice Herman Polk became interested in photography at a young age. He began studying through a correspondence course which he paid for with ten dollars he was mistakenly given as change for a candy bar at a local store.

Polk attended Tuskegee Institute from 1916 to 1920 and was ...

Article

Jessica Falconi

Mozambican photographer and photo-reporter, was born in Lourenço Marques (now Maputo) on 15 February 1924. He is considered, together with Kok Nam, the pioneer of Mozambican photography.

Having grown up on the periphery of Maputo, the colony's capital, Rangel began working in private photographic studios in the early 1940s, notably that of the professional photographer Otílio de Vasconcelos (where he worked from 1941 to 1945), as well as in other studios like Foto Sousa and Focus.

In the 1950s he started to work for newspapers and other periodicals. His first collaboration was with the Lourenço Marques Guardian, a bilingual periodical influenced by the foreign business interests present in the city. Later, in 1952, he began working with Notícias, the main daily newspaper in Mozambique, founded in 1926. He was also hired as a reporter for Notícias da tarde where he worked until ...

Article

Barbara A. Seals Nevergold

minister, musician, and photographer, was born in Bayou Rapides, Louisiana, to Irene Lair and Giuseppe “Joe” Nasello. Nasello, who immigrated to the United States from his native Sicily in 1901, owned a dry goods store in Alexandria, Louisiana, that Willie remembered visiting with his mother from time to time. However, Joe Nasello had another family, and given the mores of the time, “Papa” Joe never acknowledged the two children he fathered with Irene. (A daughter, Alice, was born in 1912.) Although Joe Nasello lived until 1958, it appears that father and son never met face to face nor openly acknowledged their relationship. Seals talked freely yet sparingly of his paternity, and he jokingly noted to his children that he was an “Italian.”

According to Willie, “Seals” was a made-up name that he took from Lucille Ceil a favorite grade school teacher ...

Article

Darren Newbury

Malian photographer, was born in 1935 or 1936 in the village of Soloba in southern Mali (then part of the French Sudan). His family were livestock farmers, and from a young age he learned how to herd animals and work the land. In the mid-1940s he was sent away to school in Bougouni, 100 miles south of the capital, Bamako. Once at school, Sidibé quickly began to demonstrate a talent for drawing, winning prizes and getting his work noticed by a local colonial administrator, Maurice Necker, and the new colonial governor, Emile Louveau. With their support, in 1952, he moved to Bamako to attend the École des Artisans Soudanais, where he studied jewelry-making.

His first engagement with photography came at the end of his school career in 1955 when the French photographer Gérard Guillat selected him to decorate his studio and shop Photo Service Guillat subsequently hired Sidibé Initially ...