David Pace, Winner, Work-in-Process Prize (2011 Daylight/CDS Photo Awards)

David Pace
Winner, Daylight/CDS Photo Awards Work-in-Process Prize

I have been traveling to the small West African country of Burkina Faso annually since 2007. I spend the fall there teaching digital photography to American college students in a study abroad program through Santa Clara University. My students live in remote villages without electricity or running water where they photograph, experience traditional village life, and intern at rural libraries.

I live in the village of Bereba. Friday is market day, and people from the neighboring villages gather to shop and socialize. On Friday nights there is a dance at Le Cotonnier, a small outdoor bar on the edge of the village. A noisy gas generator powers an antiquated music system and a local DJ spins African CDs. The dancers range in age from young children to grandparents. On the concrete dance floor they perform intricate routines, combining moves by James Brown and Michael Jackson with hip-hop and traditional tribal dance steps. I join them, photographing as we dance. It is dark and everyone is in constant motion. I love the energy, the heat, the movement, and the way my flash captures these moments that otherwise go unseen. This project follows the tradition of Malick Sidibé, the great Malian photographer who documented the youth culture of Bamako in the 1960s and ’70s. Like Sidibé, I am exploring the positive and joyful aspects of African popular culture in an era of transition.

—David Pace

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    1. […] David Pace (Los Altos, California) Friday Night Winner, Work-in-Process Prize […]

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