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Standing, from the left: Moussa (my assistant), Tidiane Shitou and Alioune Bâ. Kneeling, from the left: Shitou's eldest son and Bassirou Sanni in Tidiane Shitou's 9 m2 studio. Photographer: Svend Erik Sokkelund 1994.  

El Hadj Tidiane Shitou (1933 - 2000)
Tidiane Shitou was born in the state of Oyo in Nigeria. He started as a salesman, but in 1967 he settled in Gao in northern Mali. Here he learned photography at the studio of Mama Awane.

After trying to make a living in Gao and in Bamako, he settled down in Mopti in 1971, in a small 9 m2 studio in the old part of town. Here he worked until his death in 2000, when his youngest son took over the studio.

For many years, Shitou did not know what to do with his old negatives, so he gave them to the children to play with. But from the mid 1970s he has kept all of them in small envelopes - carefully placed upside down "so that the dust will fall out".