Books: Life & Afterlife In Benin

Photography plays a role in most of our lives - but rarely in our deaths. If you happened to live in the West African country of Benin * during the 1960s and 1970s, photography was quite literally a matter of life and death. It is a commonly held belief in many non-Western cultures that a person's soul lives on, as if trapped, within the photograph.

In Benin, with its rich spiritual traditions of animism (voodoo was born here and is now Benin's official religion) - whereby fetishes or objects are regarded to embody powerful spirits - the photograph came to play a fascinating role in the rituals of death.

This unique collection of portrait photography, painstakingly assembled and conserved by the West African art specialist Alex van Gelder, opens a new chapter in the history of African photography.

Related Items