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Paying Homage to Ramily, the Father of Black and White Photography in Madagascar   

Known as Madagascar’s father of black and white photography, Emile Rakotondrazaka, known affectionately as “Ramily,” captured the natural beauty of the island during the transition from French colonial rule to independence. His black and white portraits of nature and people used shadow and movement to convey emotion and depict the moods of this challenging time in history. In Ramily’s photographs of Madagascar—known as the Great Red Island for the hue of the earth—you can feel the vastness of the ocean, the sway of the tall grass with a lone couple walking in its midst, the presence of Lac Anosy, the lake at the center of the capital city of Antananarivo. It is this legacy that was recently celebrated at Hakanto Contemporary Gallery in Tanjombato, Antananarivo in a three month exhibit of his photos, journals, and tools. The father of contemporary black and white photography has given Madagascar and the rest of the world a great treasure in these works of art: a time capsule of this unique country and its cultures in important decades in its history. Thousands of words conveyed in a single photograph.