Malte Wandel

Malte Wandel is a photographer and filmmaker from Munich, Germany. He studied photography and media arts in Dortmund, Zurich and Cologne. Since 2007, he has frequently travelled to South Africa and Mozambique working on different topics. In 2012 his awarded Book “Einheit, Arbeit, Wachsamkeit – The GDR in Mozambique” was published by Kehrer Art Books Heidelberg. In 2011, Malte Wandel moved to West Africa for almost one year. He came back to Europe with a comprehensive series of portraits from his travels through Ghana, Togo and Burkina Faso. Today we share that series entitled, Please Don’t Smile.

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Please Don’t Smile

After a one-year stay in West Africa in 2011, Malte Wandel came back to Europe with a series of portraits of people that drew his interest during his journeys through Ghana, Burkina Faso and Togo. Some he photographed spontaneously, while others he visited at home in their familiar surroundings.

In this series, Wandel successfully captures moments of the present in West African towns, from which he highlights certain protagonists and tells their stories.

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Discreetly, he approaches passers-by, and places eccentric individuals and representatives of unknown subcultures centre-frame and allows us an unusual view into life and personalities in today’s West Africa. Directly and unmodified, Wandel’s work deals with a wide variety of characters and the circumstances of their lives – during their hard daily work but also in their leisure time.

In his full-body photographs, he focuses on the steadfast look into the camera and allows, with the respectful distance, space for individual expression – between humility, pride and confidence. Ghana is West Africa’s great source of hope.

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MalteWandel16 Please Don’t Smile.

To view more of Malte’s work, please visit his website.



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