ARTS & CRAFTS
ZEDPIPO – A PORTRAIT OF A NATION
Portraits bring out the personal attributes of a country
LUSAKA, ZAMBIA – October 6, 2015 – Portraits of Zambians from all walks of life are the subject of a new book of social documentary portrait photographs published this week.
In his fourth book, ZedPipo, Dr Peter Langmead, a former development consultant, financial economist, classical music composer and photographer, depicts a cross-section of the people of Zambia in the various roles that define their identities.
“‘You are what you do’, a well-worn phrase that, rightly or wrongly, seeks to capture the identity of an individual within the confines of a profession, job or social role. This is important, not only for the social history of Zambia but also as a reflection of global heritage”, explained Dr Langmead.
ZedPipo, like Dr Langmead’s previous books, zedscape, Postcards from Zambia and The Zambians, is a view of Zambia from a foreigner’s perspective. It features 83 portraits of contemporary Zambians in their professions and explores the fascinating question of belonging and identity through the prism of a series of portraits of Zambians from different walks of life, from farmers to a central banker, from a pilot to fishermen.
Most people who take a photograph of someone generally intend to capture a representation and rarely have any artistic pretensions or delusions. “Whether the image is a likeness is most important to them but that is only one element in the discussion about pictures capturing the essence of the individual”, said Dr Langmead, who draws on his studies of Western fine art to examine parallels between painting and photography.
“The portrait can fulfil its need to show the character of the subject, it can be interpreted and its subject can be important.” “The digital age has changed the meaning of portraiture by elevating phone owners to photographers and artists with audiences of their social media friends, perhaps redefining portraits of national importance”, he added.
Dr Langmead’s portraits bring out the personal characters of contemporary Zambians in their careers, reflecting his observations after 40 years of working as a development consultant. He hopes the book will inspire a new generation of Zambian photographers to take up documentary photography and ensure that the life of the country is chronicled for posterity.
In addition to targeting a local readership, ZedPipo provides a snapshot of life in Zambia for those less familiar with the country, whether tourists, business visitors or overseas observers. And its convenient size makes it ideal as a Christmas or corporate gift.
The book is available from Planet Books in Arcades and in the UK through www.amazon.co.uk, and at the Zambian Art and Design Show (ZADS) on November 14-15. The images can be viewed at www.peterlangmead.com, and at www.facebook.com/zedpipo2015. ZedPipo is published by Langmead & Baker Ltd. ISBN 978-9982-896-13-9. Price: K100.