In 1958, American photographer Todd Webb was commissioned by the United Nations to photograph industrial progress in Africa. As Webb’s first large-scale colour photographs, these images present complex constructions of race and cultural identity during the transitional moment between colonialism and independence on the African continent. The nearly 2000 images from the trip have never been exhibited or published in their original format.
Rediscovered by the Todd Webb Archive in 2017, over 200 of these striking photographs are published here alongside contributions by both African and American scholars that engage the images in their historic and photographic moment.
About the Author
Todd Webb (1905–2000) was an American photographer active from the late 1930s to the 1980s whose work has attained an important place in the annals of American
photographic history. Previous books on Todd Webb include I See A City, also published by Thames & Hudson.
Aimée Bessire is Professor of African art history and cultural studies at Bates College in Maine. She has co-curated exhibitions including ‘The Art of Identity: African Sculpture from the Teel Collection’ (Fogg Museum, Harvard 1996) and ‘Convulsive Beauty:
The Impact of Surrealism on American Art’ (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York 1988).
Erin Hyde Nolan is a Visiting Assistant Professor at Maine College of Art, where she teaches the history of photography and visual culture. She was the manager of the Todd
Webb Archive from 2010 to 2015.