When one poses for a portrait, one generally tries to show oneself in the best light. Traditionally, this means wearing one’s best clothes, accessorizing, and striking a flattering pose in a setting that enhances it. Seydou Keïta learned these conventions while working with the Bamako-based French photographer Pierre Garnier, but when he opened his own studio in 1948, he innovated by creating types of portraits better adapted to the desires of his Mali clientele. In particular, he used his own props and decorations, invented new poses, and above all introduced ornate clothing and backdrops
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