“Mr. Sanlé’s work documenting the cultural scene is reminiscent of that by Malick Sidibé and Seydou Keita ... and now it is his turn to be lionized.” - The New York Times
Burkina Faso photographer Sory Sanlé (b. 1943) began his career in 1960, the year his country (then called République de Haute-Volta) gained independence from France. Sanlé opened his Volta Photo portrait studio in 1965 and, working with his Rolleiflex twin lens medium format camera, Volta Photo was soon recognised as the finest studio in the city. Voltaic photography’s unsung golden age is fully embodied by Sory Sanlé. His black and white images magnify this era and display a unique cultural energy and social impact.
Sanlé’s work examines the natural fusion between tradition and modernity. He documented the fast evolution of Bobo-Dioulasso, then Haute-Volta’s cultural and economic capital, portraying the city’s inhabitants with wit, energy and passion. His work conveys a youthful exuberance in the wake of the first decades of African independence. In many ways, Sanlé’s subjects also illustrate the remoteness and melancholy of African cities landlocked deep in the heart of the continent.
Sanlé’s work is currently held in private collections worldwide and is also part of the Autophoto exhibition at the newly refurbished Fondation Cartier in Paris. This is the first book published on Sanlé’s work and is released to coincide with the first solo international exhibition of his work at Morton-Hill gallery in London.
Published by Reel Art Press/Morton Hill
Hardback; 80pp; 35+ b&w photographs; 245 x 200 mm