Edmond Fortier's journey through Mali in 1905/06


French colonization of West Africa started by the end of the 19th century. Military men such as Louis Desplagnes (1878-1914) and Emile-Louis Abbat (1867-1916) brought back many exceptional photographs from their missions abroad. Desplagnes undertook his journey in 1904/05 and made us discover Dogon country for the very first time. His in-depth study has been published in a monumental book in 1907 (Le Plateau Central Nigérien). Edmond Fortier (1862-1928), on the other hand, was a professional photographer living in Dakar. He has published between 1900 and 1910 more than 4200 photos as postcards. In 1905/06, Fortier undertook a long trip that brought him from Guinea through Bamako, Ségou, Mopti and Dogon country to Timbuktu. On his way back he visited Djenné and Kayes. The photos of the postcards presented here were made during this trip. Some of the places visited are shown on the map to the right. The negatives of his photographs seem to have disappeared. Thanks to Fortier we know today what Timbuktu, Djenné and Bandiagara looked like a hundred years ago.