The Nights of Philippe Koudjina in Niamey
In Niger, during daytime it’s always summer. Even during the night, the heat is still there. Niamey is right in the middle of the Sahel desert, crossed by the flow of the majestic Niger River. Night-clubs are Philippe Koudjina’s universe, a photographer-reporter of the Niamey nights since 1960. This is the great era of Independences, the joy of living a free discovery, the pride of being African. In the heat of the night the youth is dancing on the frenzied sounds of Afro-Cuban and Zairian rumbas and European twists. When Koudjina is not there, everyone request him, then is he has the feeling of missing something. On the next morning he promises himself not to miss the next night.
Who doesn’t know the photographer of the night, the one who’s taking photos of hearts that bind and never separate? The Benin-Togolese chose to settle in Niger in 1959, he was a geometre and was travelling al lot, he was already taken by his passion for photography. He finally lands in Niamey to photograph the crazy nights and left his other activities. After our meeting in 1997 and the presentation of his work in “Revue Noire”, in 2001, a solo exhibition was devoted to him at “Les Rencontres de la Photographie de Bamako” in Mali and another one in 2015 as a tribute.