For master photographer Lou Jones, photographing Africa has been the challenge of a lifetime. Frustrated by consistently negative media coverage of Africa—an unrealistic and obsolete litany of poverty, pestilence, and conflict— Jones decided to use the universal language of photography to dispel these harmful African stereotypes, and to tell the real story of Africa today. Its 55 countries are home to one-and-a-quarter billion people. They go to work, raise and educate their children, preserve traditional rituals, and make innovative strides in business, industry, the arts, medicine, and sports. For Jones and his camera, the continent is a visual feast.
Systematically visiting each country, one at a time, Jones and his studio team investigate the local cultures. Guided by civic leaders, teachers, and historians, they learn what is going on, and what is important and unique there—both on the large scale of the country, and on the more intimate level of individual people and their families.
With his artist’s eye, and camera craft, Lou Jones has found many ways to give back to the Africans who generously welcomed him and his crew into their communities. His photographs have been made available as a resource for education, research, business, promotion, and other creative purposes. He is developing curriculums for schools, lecturing, publishing articles, and exhibiting the African images in galleries and museums. Jones has encouraged many applications and media outlets, which is appropriate for such an ambitious project—cutting through the clichés and stereotypes, and letting contemporary Africans show us what their lives really look like.