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Photographer: Svend Erik Sokkelund 1996.  

El Hadj Bassirou Sanni (1937 - 2000)
Bassirou Sanni was born in Nigeria in 1937. From 1960 to 1962, he had a thorough grounding in photography with a master of the art in Lagos, Nigeria. He worked with a plate camera in big format and also learned the difficult art of retouching with a sharpened soft pencil directly on the negative.

In 1962, Bassirou Sanni settled definitively in Mopti in northern Mali. From his native country, he brought a fine Japanese mahogany plate camera for films and plate. With this equipment he started his career. Later on his younger brother Latifu moved to Mopti, where he learnt photography.

When I visited his studio in 1996, Bassirou told me that people came to be photographed next to a radio, a bicycle or a moped: symbols of prestige in the Malian society during these days.