Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou (b.1965, Porto-Novo, Benin)

Leonce Raphael Agbodjelou is one of the pre-eminent photographers of the Republic of Benin, based in the capital Porto Novo, where he was born in 1965. Trained by his father, the world-renowned photographer Joseph Moise Agbodjelou (1912-2000), he has since developed his own individual style in contemporary and innovative ways. Agbodjelou's subjects are the people of Porto-Novo, Benin and his daylight studio photographs are drawn from street life, his friends, family and studio customers. Benin is full of colour and Porto-Novo is like a visual assault. The artist's impressive portraits wildly combine locally designed Dutch imported textiles to create extreme gradations between background, foreground, person and clothing. The images are straight out of urban market scenes and the bustling bars, street stalls and traffic jams. The artist is part of a generation experiencing rapid change and his photographs capture the energy and unfettered zest for life of a people caught between tradition and progress. The photographer's studio is,  much like the hairdressing salons of Porto-Novo, a meeting place for a diverse demographic and a site of exchange. 

Agbodjelou is the founder and director of the first photographic school in Benin and has recently been appointed president of the Photographer's Association of Porto-Novo. His work has been exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery, London, and acquired by the CAAC Pigozzi Collection, Geneva, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, and Pitt Rivers Museum, Oxford, among others.  


Agbodjelou, Leonce Raphael b.1965

related artists / Porto-Novo, Benin / Africa