A Complex Self-Portrait of Africa

Holding a retrospective exhibit after only 15 years as a professional photographer may seem unexpected. But such was the timing for Akintunde Akinleye, the only Nigerian photojournalist to have won a World Press Photo prize, in 2007. Since then, he has continued his work for Reuters, capturing life in the heart of Lagos, whose population of more than 20 million makes it Africa’s largest city. The exhibition is called “Each Passing Day” (it opened at Red Door Gallery in Lagos on April 19, the photographer’s birthday), and its title connotes the marking of time, of a steady eye bearing witness to a nation’s struggle for political stability while it endures the growing pains of rapid urbanization. The work is even more poignant when you consider that Mr. Akinleye’s career spans a particular time in Nigeria’s postcolonial history — the country’s re-establishment of republican government in 1999, and the recent election of a former dictator as its president-elect. “One of my missions is not just to make a career in photojournalism,” Mr. Akinleye said from his home in Lagos. “My mission is actually to do history, to put it in perspective, so that distortion can be reduced to its barest minimum.”

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Credited Source: 
The New York Times

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