How old Ugandan negatives are bringing families back to life
Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine has made it his mission to preserve and exhibit the work of the late Ugandan studio photographer Kibaate Aloysius Ssalongo, who recorded the lives of people from the rural town of Mbirizi.
Living in a time when images are so casually made and stored on a phone, it is easy to forget how fragile and precious a picture once was.A faded and frayed photograph or a damaged negative might be the only connection someone has with a long-missed relative.Or sometimes people hang on to the memory of the photograph itself being taken, the print having been lost in the packing and unpacking of possessions that comes with moving.All these feelings are captured in this retrospective of Ssalongo’s work.A keen photographer, Mwine, who was born in the US but has roots in Uganda, came across Ssalongo’s studio by chance in 1999. His car had broken down in Mbirizi and he had some time to kill. He was invited inside and in the darkroom the Ugandan pulled out one of several sacks full of hundreds of deteriorating negatives. (Source: BBC News, by Damian Zane, 11th January 2022)