Inscribed on reverse: Type Watutsi, à la coffure caractéristque.
Silver gelatin print
23.6 x 17.8 cm. (9 ¼ x 7 in.)
As the original label on the back of the photograph confirms, the sitter in this portrait is a Tutsi and the image was taken at Nyanza, the historic capital of Rwanda, located in the south of the country. He wears his hair in the Amasunzu style, traditionally worn by Tutsi men and unmarried women. A signifier of social status, the hair was styled into tall crests and, because of its striking aesthetic, was a favourite subject of European photographers active in Rwanda during the period of Belgian rule (fig. 1).
Fig. 1, Casimir Zagourski, Portrait of a Tutsi,
silver gelatin print, 1930s
Though no biographical information on Carlo Lamote has yet come to light, he was clearly a Belgian photographer working for Congopresse, the main agency for photojournalism in the Belgian Congo from its inception in 1947 until independence in 1960. Lamote’s image likely dates from the early 1950s. The Herskovits Library of African Studies possess an image of the same sitter, his head viewed from behind (fig. 2).
Fig. 2, Carol Lamote, Portrait of a Tutsi seen from behind,
silver gelatin print, 1950s, Herskovits Library of African Studies,
You can unsubscribe or change your preferences at any time by clicking the link in our emails.