the wedding photographers...

Most photographers in Lomé work freelance like these fellows, who hang out at the wedding registry office and offer to take photos of the newlywed couples and their families.

For such entreprenuers, 35mm film cameras remain the equipment of choice here. One can still find a number of Chinese-run photo-finishing processors around town, with automated equipment that can turn around finished prints in a few minutes. Of course the chemistry is usually over-used, the machinery old and dirty, and running in an environment that is surely way over the ambient temperature specification. The results are pretty horrid -- to put it kindly.

But a guy with an old camera and a roll of film can make a go of it, no computers or other fancy, expensive, hi-tech gizmotry required. And the photographs they make are treasured by the customers who get them.

You may notice that all these photographers will have an electronic flash mounted on their camera. Even though they are working at mid-day in the brightest equatorial light, they know well the necessity of using fill-flash to soften the shadows and harsh contrast, particularly important with the darker complexions of their African customers.

So when they noticed me, they weren't interested at all in the big old press camera I was carrying. No, what got their interest instead was the cheap plastic bounce-reflector velcroed onto my own flash!

Lomé, Republic of Togo, May 2009

Rapid Omega 100, 90mm Super Omegon, Neopan 400.