Framing Time: Guy Tillim’s African Street Photography

While in the tradition of Henri Cartier-Bresson, the image was more about the photographer’s control of the frame, in Guy Tillim’s photographs of African cities it seems as if the subjects have been given a freer rein. Tillim has never believed that one frame can capture the essence of a situation. For him, all moments could be decisive. In these photographs, exhibited in “Museum of the Revolution,” at the Fondation Henri Cartier-Bresson, time neither seems to be racing forward, as in a film, nor does it feel suspended as in a single photograph. Tillim’s photo-sequences are closer to reproducing memory with its rifts, loops, gaps, hiccups and jolts. The images carry a sense of dynamism, yet uncertainty, an ambiguous feeling that maybe reflects a larger question about a continent’s future.

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