Dolce Vita Africana is a documentary about the internationally renowned Malian photographer Malick Sidibé, whose iconic images from the late 1950s through the 70s captured the carefree spirit of his generation asserting their freedom after independence and up until an Islamic coup ushered in years of military dictatorship. The filmmaker travels to Sidibé’s studio in Bamako, Mali, to witness the artist at work and meet many of the subjects of his earlier photographs, whose personal stories also tell the history of Mali.
A group of women in santa costumes ride through the streets of New York in a red convertible, 1969. (Photo by Ernst Haas/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
A cracked pane of glass, March 1963. (Photo by Ernst Haas/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Buildings on Third Avenue, New York reflected in a shop window, 1952. (Photo by Ernst Haas/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
1953: On 5th Avenue, New York, pedestrians and buildings reflected almost perfectly in a window. (Photo by Ernst Haas/Ernst Haas/Getty Images)
Lights from a neon sign and a stained glass window, reflected in a swimming pool, California, USA, July 1977. (Photo by Ernst Haas/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Ernst Haas (March 2, 1921 – September 12, 1986) was a photojournalist and a pioneering color photographer. During his 40-year career, the Austrian-born artist bridged the gap between photojournalism and the use of photography as a medium for expression and creativity. In addition to his prolific coverage of events around the globe after World War II, Haas was an early innovator in color photography. His images were widely disseminated by magazines like Life and Vogue and, in 1962, were the subject of the first single-artist exhibition of color photography at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. He served as president of the cooperative Magnum Photos, and his book The Creation (1971) was one of the most successful photography books ever, selling 350,000 copies.
Haas was uninterested in learning photography as a child,though his father—an avid amateur—tried to share his interest. Upon his father’s death in 1940, however, Haas first entered the darkroom, learning to print old family negatives. His interest grew, and he soon began to take his own photographs.
“To identify a person as a Southerner suggests not only that her history is inescapable and formative but that it is also impossibly present. Southerners live uneasily at the nexus between myth and reality, watching the mishmash amalgam of sorrow, humility, honor, graciousness, and renegade defiance play out against a backdrop of profligate physical beauty.”
― Sally Mann, Deep South
Until a few years ago, I was able to stave off an awareness that there is not an ounce of beauty in the world, and that humanity is a thing of extreme hideousness. So I could shoot and believe in something. (1972) – Daido Moriyama