Three Families, Three Decades: The Portraits of Burkino Faso, West Africa on Exhibit at Lehman College

March 12, 2014 | Lehman College


In a celebration of Women’s History Month, Lehman College presents the groundbreaking photographs of Beryl Goldberg, on display throughout March in the Gallery at Leonard Lief Library.

The opposite of helicopter journalism, these images are a personal exploration of regular people in a part of the world most often depicted in crisis. Spanning more than three decades, the photographs depict the daily life of three families in Burkina Faso, West Africa, and show how the country has evolved through those years. The parents were market people from rural villages; today, many of the younger generation are sophisticated dwellers in the wired urban environment, and some have traveled abroad-including Italy, France and the Bronx.

Professor Ousseina Alidou, Director of the Rutgers University Center for African Studies, said:  “Beryl Goldberg’s camera offers a dignified transgenerational portrait of three families. Her work is an important counter-narrative to the negative stereotypes and media imaging of Africa and its people.  It is a marvelous depiction of the dignity of common folk.”

Based in New York, Beryl Goldberg has traveled around the world on assignment for various international organizations and publishers. Her goal is always to function as an unobtrusive observer, providing us with images of regular people engaged in the various facets of normal life.

Recently, she was sent to Cambodia and India by Family Health International. In recent months she was also photographing in London and Paris.  Among her clients are Planned Parenthood, UN agencies, The New York Times and McGraw Hill.  Her photographs have been exhibited in the United States, Canada and Europe. In March 2013 she had a one woman show at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ.  Her work was included in three different CURATE, NYC  on line shows in October 2013.  Her work is also in private collections and museums, including the Museum of the Jewish Heritage, the Skirball Center in Los Angeles and the Portland Museum of Art.

The exhibit is sponsored by Leonard Lief Library, Dean of Arts & Humanities, Africa & African American Studies Department, and Women’s Studies.