Vera Bakker is a research master student in African Studies at the African Studies Centre in Leiden. She holds a bachelor degree in Social Psychology from the University of Amsterdam and has a Msc in Cultural Anthropology and Sociology from the Leiden University. Vera’s fields on interests lie in visual anthropology, processes of identity forming, modes of belonging, mobility, (new) social media. Currently, Vera is working on a project that focuses on photography and mobility of people in the Grassfields of Cameroon. She is interested in how digitalisation has transformed the presentation of the self and how this relates to questions of identity, memory, mobility and transnationalism. For this Vera looks at older forms of representation, such as statues and paintings, and new ways of visual communication through social media, like Facebook and Whatsapp. Photographs are in this sense living and ever changing visual maps of personal networks.
The coming of mobile phones and small digital cameras has changed the practices of professional photographers and the importance of their studios in people’s everyday lives. However, photographers are still invited to document events such as weddings, birth celebrations and funerals. Their photographs end up private photo albums and are displayed in the homes of their customers and are therefore highly present in the visual landscape.
One of the oldest and most popular photo studios in Bamenda is Mirac Photo. This studio was set up by Charles Tasong during the time of analogue photography and is now owned by his cousin Frank Tasong, who transformed it into a ‘digital studio’, as Frank says.