At a special ceremony in London, Samuel Fosso, one of Africa’s most accomplished photographers, was awarded the esteemed Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize for 2023.
Known as “a man of 1,000 faces,” the Cameroonian-born artist started out in the 1970s specialising in self-portraiture and performative photography. His works are currently displayed in prestigious galleries throughout the world.
For his most recent retrospective show at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie gallery in Paris, he received the £30,000 ($37,000) award.
Fosso, now 60, was born and raised in Nigeria, but when his mother passed away during the Biafran conflict, he left. He then relocated to the Central African Republic (CAR) with his uncle, where he started an apprenticeship at a nearby photography shop.
He established his Studio Photo Nationale in the nation’s capital, Bangui, at the age of 13 in 1975. He began taking self-portraits with the remaining exposures on his films to send to his grandmother in Nigeria.
His first intent was to demonstrate that he was still alive and well, but as his passion in the genre increased, he began experimenting with new stances and approaches.
Fosso reacting to the big win said, “Winning this prestigious prize, recognised as one of the most important in the field of photography, means that my work is recognised by the artistic community.
“This recognition is very important to me. I feel a lot of joy and pride.”