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Portrait of a woman [Saint Louis, Senegal]
Postcard, gelatin silver print
Metropolitan Museum of Art
Visual Resource Archive, Department of the Arts of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas, Accession Number: VRA.2014.8.019
Included in the "In and Out of the Studio: Photographic Portraits from West Africa" exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (31 August 2015–3 January 2016).
Curatorial description (Accessed: 8 October 2015)
While the format of this work recalls that of a postcard, it is not a mass-produced object. Real photo postcards are produced individually from negatives and chemically printed on photographic paper. Portraits such as this one were commissioned by a patron and then printed on a postcard format that sometimes included patterned borders, usually without mention of the photographer. Certainly less expensive than a cabinet card and more modern than a carte-de-visite, this new format’s popularity rose quickly among West African middle-class.