African photography is changing, and the continent is full of emerging talents. Some of the best young photographers tend to document modern societies by contrasting them with the complexities of traditional lifestyles. And many of the rising stars on TRUE Africa’s radar were empowered by Aïda Muluneh, the Ethiopian photographer and contemporary artist whose Addis Foto Fest had become, over the past decade, the largest photography festival on the continent. Following up on our reporting on the last edition of the Bamako Encounters, the African photography Biennale, we caught up with Aïcha Fall, one of the brightest young documentarians of the Ivorian scene. Paul Kodjo was famous for his “romans photos” and for his portrayals of his country’s everyday citizens in the 1960s and 1970s. Joana Choumali, the Ivorian artist who recently won the $100,000 Pictet photography prize is from Côte d’Ivoire, and it didn’t come as a surprise to us that Aïda Muluneh is also now living mostly in Abidjan, Aïcha’s city.
Why did you decide to become a photographer?
At first it was a hobby and it quickly grew on me and became my way to tell stories. I want to inspire African people and creatives by showing that with little you can achieve great things.
How did the “Korogho Women series come about?
I went to Korogho to visit some family members and saw all over the city everyone driving a motorcycle and what truly amazed me were all the different women that were driving, the high school girls in uniforms, the mothers carrying their children, the fashionistas, the workers… it was so empowering and I had to capture that and share it with the world.
How do you think your photographs can help change perceptions of Ivorians and Africans?
For a long time, people viewed Africa as one big country while ignoring all the cultural diversity this continent holds. I grew tired of the mis-portrayal of our communities, especially our people. I think my photography can help shift the narrative by showing different facades of our cultural heritage. Articulating a new narrative about Ivorian/African culture in general.