Industry News

Changing the Perception of Africa Through Photography

September 4, 2017

By Jacqueline Tobin

Photo © Lou Jones Photography

“Family fabricating fiberglass mannequins,” Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, 2017.

For the past three-and-a-half years, Boston-based photographer Lou Jones has been, he says, using the universal language of photography to dispel many of the myths surrounding Africa by documenting modern, contemporary, everyday life there. In what he calls an overly ambitious and self-motivated assignment he first embarked on in 2013, the panAFRICAproject aims to show the very contemporary things happening in Africa that far eclipse the negative stereotypes put forth by Western media.

“We’re just back from Burkina Faso and about to photograph in our 11th country—Morocco,” Jones explains. “We’ve used funding from my commercial work, from Kickstarter and from some foundations, and not only are we trying to amass a compendium of visual media for education and corporate usage but have been exhibiting the work in schools and galleries as well, including the Boston Arts Academy, Mount Ida College and Cape Cod Museum of Art.”

Jones says in the ten countries he’s visited so far (he plans to make it to all 55 eventually), he’s had to undergo a different cultural immersion each time, adapting his travel and shooting style to local customs.

“Most people, when they think of Africa, conjure up images of conflict, pestilence and poverty,” Jones says. “But the vast majority of people there go about their lives contributing to a vibrant contemporary culture. And we are there to capture all of it.”

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