Alun Be; French-Senegalese photographer on changing African perceptions through his art.

Trained architect and photographer Alun Be wants to use his work to change people’s perceptions of Africa through his art. The Dakar-born photographer is self taught and uses his personal projects to explore the human condition.

Portrait photographer, Alun Be focuses mainly on human beings in public spaces. Born in Senegal, his memorable approach has carved a niche that draws influence from his upbringing in France, America and Senegal. 

A new wave of freshness is coming from Africa and everyone is copying,” says Alun Be.

“We’ve been taught we are not good enough, we are not sophisticated enough we’re not smart enough when it’s not true,” he told CNN in an interview. “I think time is proving everything that they say is wrong. They are looking for new ideas, new innovative things.” 

Alun Be
Alun Be

The Dakar-born photographer is self taught and uses his personal projects to explore the human condition in public spaces — inspired by his studies in San Francisco where he received his MA in architecture.

He has exhibited at Galeries Lafayette in Paris, 50 Golborne gallery in London, and has thousands of fans on Facebook and Instagram, but his father was not always supportive of his work. 

“My dad said; ‘no art in this home.’ He had this phrase; ‘artists are like the garbage of humanity.’ That’s how strongly he felt, but now looking back I realize it was a fear that I would get lost in the arts.”
“My parents didn’t want me to be an artist but they figured that the closest thing to art, that is ‘respectable’ is architecture, so they pushed me towards that.”

Be’s latest exhibition in Dakar featured a mix of architecture and art, and his work was well received by the art community in Senegal; “There is a lot of solidarity between the local artists, it’s like a family,” he said. “They adopted me right away as I was making my way to the art scene. 

“The previous generation of artists claim that they did not benefit much from solidarity between artists. I always feel helped and welcomed, and I love to do the same in return.”

See more of his Interview with CNN

Edification Series

Alun Be explores the impact of technology on our societies. The goal of this series is to provide a visual account of a digital future that connects to our humanity. Through the Edification series, Alun Be invites us to an open dialogue about the future.

See more of Be’s work on his website.

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