Born in Cameroon, Samuel Fosso lived in Nigeria as a small child but was forced to leave at the end of the Biafran war in 1972, moving to Bangui in the Central African Republic. At 13 he began taking photographs, soon opening his own studio for passport, portrait and wedding photographs. Having experimented with different costumes, poses and backdrops, Fosso’s self-portraits provide a chronicle of his adolescence. In 1994, his work was brought to a wider audience at the first edition of the Rencontres de Bamako, la Biennale africaine de la photographie, Bamako.
His ‘autoportraits’ have granted him the status of the ‘agent of transformation’ and have been widely exhibited, including at the Guggenheim Museum, New York and the Photographers’ Gallery, Barbican Art Gallery and Tate Modern, all London. His work is held in several US and European collections including the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Los Angeles County Museum, Los Angeles; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris and Tate.