Members of the 4-C Club listening to instructor, Upper Volta, 1972

Richard Saunders

Silver print

As International Editor for Topic (1967-1986), a magazine published by the United States Information Agency (USIA), Richard Saunders spent 20 years visiting countries across the length and breadth of Africa, moving seamlessly between photographing heads of state and documenting rural life. Here, he captures young girls in the 4-C Club, which taught agricultural techniques to […]

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South American Project, c.1965

Richard Saunders

Silver print

Richard Saunders’ first assignment for the United States Information Agency (USIA) was in 1964, when the agency sent him to Latin America for six months to document the hemisphere-wide Alliance for Progress, an economic development programme sponsored by the US government. By photographing this group of people from above, the circular shapes of the hats […]

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Martha Bulengo, Tanzania, 1974

Richard Saunders

Silver print

Here, Saunders captures Martha Bulengo, Executive Director of the Community Development Trust Fund, an organisation dedicated to working with villages in Tanzania and assisting women in rural areas. By shooting on high contrast black and white 35mm film, Saunders elevates this photograph from a straightforward portrait to a striking graphic image, the intensity of the […]

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Celebration of the Mass, Douala, Cameroon, 1971

Richard Saunders

Silver print

“In most cases I look for pattern and design,” Richard Saunders once said. Referring to Celebration of the Mass, Douala, Cameroon, 1971, which captures seven nuns dressed entirely in white sitting elegantly in a line, he says: “This picture has a rhythm to it, in the way the nuns are sitting, the positioning of their […]

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Albert Schweitzer Hospital, Haiti, 1958

Richard Saunders

Silver print

In 1953, Richard Saunders was selected as one of 25 emerging photographers by Edward Steichen, then the Director of the Photography Department at the Museum of Modern Art, New York, to be included in the Always the Young Strangers exhibition at MoMA. Steichen, considered a pioneer in the realm, described the exhibition as presenting “samplings […]

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Senegalese Film Makers, 1971

Richard Saunders

Silver print

During this time as International Editor of Topic (1967-1988), a magazine published by the United States Information Agency (USIA), Richard Saunders took at least 50 trips to Africa, visiting 30 countries and travelling the length and breadth of the continent. He visited big cities, towns and tiny villages in the bush, living with, and becoming […]

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Chicago Housing Project, 1957

Richard Saunders

Silver print

The earliest work in this exhibition, this photograph illustrates Saunders’ focus on symmetry and repetition, with the stairs between the apartments mimicking the angle of the telephone wires in the top right-hand corner of the frame. Though tightly controlled, the composition of his photographs was never the result of art direction or interference, but of […]

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Pirogue Races on the Bandama Blanc River, Ivory Coast, 1969

Richard Saunders

Silver print

With an instinctive eye for framing the shot and playing with visual cues, Saunders’ striking photographs capture a distinct moment in time and provide a unique way of seeing. “One of my aims,” he once said, “is to tie the human factor, the human drama, in with the technical aspects of [film] development and make […]

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Women Building Lesotho Track, Lesotho, 1971

Richard Saunders

Silver print

This photograph was taken for issue #66 of Topic, a magazine published by the United States Information Agency (USIA), now the Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs bureaus within the US State Department. Saunders served as their International Editor from 1967 to 1986. Topic ran from 1965 to 1994 and covered art, international politics and emerging […]

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Malcom X with Elijah Muhammed and Muslim Dignitaries, 1950s

Richard Saunders

Silver print

This photograph, taken in the 1950s, shows Malcom X, his wife Betty Shabazz and their daughters Atallah and Qubilah with Elijah Muhammad, the leader of the Nation of Islam from 1935 to 1975. The photograph was originally taken for Playboy, to accompany an article about Malcolm X written by Alex Hayley, an esteemed writer who […]

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