In 2007, Sidibe was awarded the Golden Lion lifetime achievement award at the Venice Biennale, making him the first photographer and African to do so. When he was asked what makes a great artist, he said:

… a good photographer needed the “talent to observe, and to know what you want” but also to be sympathique, or friendly. “I believe with my heart and soul in the power of the image, but you also have to be sociable. I’m lucky. It’s in my nature,” he said. “It’s a world, someone’s face. When I capture it, I see the future of the world.”


Sidibe’s work is currently on exhibit at Jack Shainman Gallery in New York; earlier this week, the Times wrote about how even his recent work was groundbreaking:

...[his] most recent series, “Vue de Dos,” depicts women with bare backs and views of the shoulder suggesting a concealed, sensual beauty rather than something explicit.

Mr. Sidibé resists exhibiting this work, which has been considered risqué, in his native, predominantly Muslim country, where revealing parts of the body is taboo. The series experiments with an artistic variation of the female nude, the goddess as a voluptuous muse, in his singular, powerful style.

Sidibe’s passing was confirmed by his nephew Oumar Sidibé on Friday. The legend had been fighting an undisclosed illness for some time.

Image via AP