Monthly Archives: October 2014

Chief S.O. Alonge, First Nigerian Court Photographer During Colonial Times

I was recently inspired by a Smithsonian profile of the life and work of S.O Alonge. In particularly made think a lot about the role of photographers in culture and the relationship between the photographer and the subject.

The British took control of Benin City, Nigeria, in the late 19th Century. Capital of the Edo state, the city had provided a home to the Benin people for more than 800 years. The British exiled the reigning ruler in the 1800s, but in 1914 the instated a new chief or Oba. That ruler’s son took the reigns in 1933. S.O. Alonge took the position of the Oba’s court photographer.

read more