100,000 original Black and white negatives, dating back from 1940’s, of Mali’s most famous photographers, will be digitised using a $300,000 National endowment for the Humanities grant.
The archive features family portraits and photos of military activities, diplomatic visits, political events, national monuments, architecture, cultural and religious ceremonies and other aspects of popular culture.
Candace keller, assistant professor of African art history and visual culture, is collaborating with MSU’s MATRIX: The centre for Digital Humanities and Social Sciences and the Maison Africaine de la Photographie in Bamako, Mali, to create the Archive of Malian Photography by digitising and restoring the negatives thereby protecting them from further damage.
Access will be provided only to the low-resolution photos making them unusable in print but still useful for research and scholarship and protecting photos from further exploitation. “These photos have the potential to shape the way photographic history and cultural practice in West Africa are taught and studied since the concepts displayed go beyond what we’re used to seeing: village-based lifestyles,” said Keller.
Keller’s current two-year project is the second phase of the Archive of Malian Photography project. She and her team have already digitised 28,000 Malian photos using a grant from the British Library Endangered Archives Programme.
Courtesy: Michigan State University