Antoine Tempé: Documenting West African culture

French photographer Antoine Tempé has been living in Dakar, Senegal and works on portraits and documenting contemporary West African culture.

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“I think if a photo doesn’t make people feel something then it’s not a good photo,” says Antoine Tempé. “I think that’s the strength of a good photo, to carry emotion.”

Senegal-based French-born photographer Tempé has been living in Dakar permanently for the last five years. Before becoming a photographer, Tempé had been working as a stockbroker and when he realised that his career wasn’t giving him the satisfaction he desired, he took a sabbatical year and travelled through West Africa and Madagascar documenting the local culture.  

“Unfortunately in the West the media likes to enhance catastrophes or paint things in a categorised way. My goal is just to show the culture that I see around me.”

His work captures little moments that are barely noticeable to the naked eye: the movements in-between two positions, or facial expressions in between a pose. His current portrait series focusses on people working on the streets of Dakar in trades that may soon disappear: people who repair tyres or sell fish on the street or drive horse carts. 

“I think in 10 years all of that will not be so present in the city, which is going through very fast modernisation,” says Tempé.