My encounter with Africa came through the high politics of physical and poetic excellence: Kenyan boxers, Senegalese wrestlers, inventers of writing and bearers of ancient traditions. My photographic subjects were self-taught heroes, relentless strugglers brimming with kindness, admonished by black and white elites alike, respectful titans. People with terrifying virtues and determination. Artists chanting anthems, wild animal hunters, tamers of hyenas and trainers of language, alphabet sculptors, champions: every one a mystical warrior the like of which was nowhere to be found on my childhood soil.
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