'African Image' was published in 1967 the last full calendar year that Sam and Alida were based in Johannesburg. This was his parting love letter to Africa. It was long before art books on Africa were popular and Sam's wife Alida had a tough time getting publishers to take the book. She twisted arms by saying they could have 'November Girl' (the book the followed 'Cowboy Kate') if they also took 'African Image'. It has in the meantime become a collectors piece both among lovers of photo books and collectors of African art. It’s the latter aspect of Africa, its indigenous art, that forms the core theme of a title that Sam affectionately referred to simply as 'Image'.
Although there were many workshops and lectures in subsequent years, Sam didn't return to shoot in Africa until he produced the 1999 Pentax Calendar in the Cape a very different celebration.
Sam had admired the pictures of Brodovitch dynamically editing the layout of a Richard Avedon book with loose prints spread out on on a carpeted floor high in a Manhattan skyscraper. In a slower and vertical version of that process he taped the entire book to the studio wall (see photo below). Almost daily for many weeks he made changes and additions, refining sequence, cropping, and shooting fresh material to fill gaps until the entire book rang like a bell.
Below are the cover and back cover from the African Image dust jacket.
The quarterly Bergdorf Goodman magazine (March 2010) published this week features an article about African Image that includes some of the following spreads.
[Ludwig - Sam's son]