The Met-In and Out of the Studio

The Exhibit I chose to visit was at the Metropolitan Museum. The name of the exhibit is In and Out of the Studio: Photographic Portraits from the West Africa. The entrance to the exhibit is a black, white and yellow striped wall with the name of the exhibit. The exhibit is in a square room with all white walls. The pictures are hung all around the room at the center of each wall. The photos have black frames, some white and they are all black and white photos. Some have decorative borders. There are about 65 photos that are hanging and 14 are in a small case on the left side of the room. The room is spacious. There are seven different categories that the exhibit is broken into. The categories are: Pioneers of photography, Post Cards, Amateur practices, Studio Practices in Senegal, Malick Sidibe, Seydou Keita and Oumarka and Studio Practices in the 1970’s. I believe the audience is people who can relate to West African culture. There are multiple photographers in this exhibit but the main ones are Seydou Keita, Malick Sidibe, Oumarka and J.D Okhai OjeiKere.

I believe the subject matter of the exhibit is West African Culture. I say this because the kinds of things you see in the photos are families, fashion, hairstyles. You also see the places these people are standing in, which gives you a feeling for where they live. Something you do not see is color and variety. I say variety because majority of the photos seem the same to me.

The one photograph that I loved in this exhibit is called “Woman seated on chair.” The photograph was taken by Seydou Keita. This photo was very interesting to me mostly because of her clothing and style, it’s very different. The photo is a medium-shot and seems to be at eye level. The woman is completely centered which shows symmetry. It also looks like the photographer is using shallow depth of field where the woman is in focus but the decorative background or backdrop is blurry.

In conclusion, I believe the exhibit is about West African Culture. That seems to be the subject throughout the exhibit. You see families, fashion and a sense of where they live. I do think it has an emotional impact because of the use of black and white instead of color, it gives off this serious appeal. I am not entirely sure what any of it communicates because I didn’t relate to any of it, but the photos were nice to see.

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One Response to The Met-In and Out of the Studio

  1. rmichals says:

    You do a great job here of describing the exhibit. I did not realize it when I assigned it but I would say the show is really for specialists and art historians. I had thought there would be many examples of portrait photography by Seydou Keita and Malik Sidibi both of whom were remarkable photographers. I am glad you selected one of Keita’s photos as a point of focus. He was amazing in that he would generally make one exposure of each subject. He was proud of his ability to pose his subjects in a complimentary way to bring out the best in each one.

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