,,The Kings of Africa” – photo. ©Daniel Laine
African Kings: Portraits of a Disappearing Era
Between 1988 and 1991 French photographer Daniel Laine spent about 12 months on the African continent tracking down and photographing figures of royalty and leaders of kingdoms. 70 photographed monarchs and descendants of the great African dynasties are published in his fine book entitled “African Kings”.
Daniel Lainé’s search for the last surviving monarchs of Africa’s grandest kingdoms took him all across Africa. He went from Nigeria to Ghana, Zambia to Cameroon — and from the Ivory Coast to the Democratic Republic of Congo.
His resulting photographic tribute to Africa’s kings, “Rois d’Afrique,” took over three years of investigation, diplomacy — and just plain haranguing to complete.
Although there are hundreds of kings in Africa, Daniel Lainé’s book features the kings whose dynasties have had the most impact on African history.
Dressed in their finest clothes in honor of the occasion, these last survivors of Africa’s great kingdoms are a living paradox. Few of them live modestly — and most enjoy a life of finery and fame.
But their power is an illusion. Conscious of the fact that they no longer enjoy supreme power, these monarchs nevertheless enjoy a traditional and spiritual power that is difficult for Westerners to understand.
Daniel Lainé portrays the splendor and vitality of these African kings — whose legacy lives on — despite changing times.
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