Rashid Mahdi in 2005 ©Claude Iverné / Elnour
Self-taught sudanese photographer Rashid Mahdi (1923-2008) is certainly the most sophisticated and one of the major african photographer of the XX th century.
Unique matter, about ten years before the independence of Sudan ( 1956 ), this big formal decides on one shoting protocol : the completeness of the stages, the creation of a image is considered there and defined.
So, upstream, to optimize the refinement of its portraits, shot with 18 x 24 cm stand camera, Al Rashid Mahdi thinks of decorations, defines the light. In the same spirit, before placing its often stemming subjects
Of the bourgeois society of the North Sudan, Al Rashid proceed gladly to a make-up. At the the recording moment, the exposure is chosen according to the development to come: An elaborated practice even before appears famous Ansel Adam’s theory on zone-system. Then Rashid Mahdi retouches the negative which he scratches with a feather or draws with a pen, he colours some parts of skin he wants to light with magenta ink.
The prints are themselves the object of so meticulous aesthetics interventions. Rashid Mahdi clears up with the ferry cyanide, darkens with ink; he erases wrinkles, dimples, folds of the neck; he clears up iris, limits the diverse shines, those Jewels, glasses, buttons of clothes.
Ultimate sophistication, it happens that Rashid colours the final image.
This permanent creativity and this taste of the perfection shown by Al Rashid Mahdi are also the reflection of curious one sudanese requirement, rare in Africa: Poetic dimension. A photographer is really recognized as an artist if he writes poetry or if his work dresses one.
“Photographie Soudanaise” / Usine Springcourt / Paris /France / 2012
“The gifted Man” / Cultural Center of Egypt / Paris / Farnce / 2011
“Lumières soudanaises” rencontres photographiques du 10° / Paris / 2011
“Photographies Soudanaises” Galerie Clémentine de la Ferronnière / Paris / 2011
“Lumières Soudanaises” / Flatteurville / Paris / France 2011
“Nouvelles Africaines” / Africultures / Confluences / Paris / France / 2007
“Rencontres Photographiques” / Fez /Morroco / 2006
“Another World” / La Centrale Electrique / Brussels / 2006
“Bamako Biennal of Photography” / Mali / 2005
*musée du quai Branly, Paris, France. 2013