In 1960, the French colony of Upper Volta became an independent republic. That year Ibrahim Sory Sanlé (1943, working under the name Sanlé Sory) established himself as a photographer in his hometown of Bobo-Dioulasso to become the unofficial chronicler of youth and music culture in Upper Volta.
Bobo-Dioulasso, the second city of Upper Volta (which was renamed Burkina Faso in 1984) was considered the country's cultural and economic center, the place where everything happened in the 1960s. Besides the fact that Sory was on top of it with his camera, he was also one of the driving forces behind it.
In 1965 he opened his own photo studio, Volta Photo. In that place he offered his patronage the opportunity to escape from everyday reality. Because Upper Volta was one of the poorest countries in the world. Still, even now it is called Burkina Faso. It belongs to the Sahel countries, with desertification as the most serious environmental problem. The country has extremely high temperatures close to the equator.
Everyone was welcome in the Volta Photo studio: young and old, rich and poor, male or female, Muslim or Catholic. There Sory let them dream away in self-created fantasies. In that studio were things to elevate your status with: a Bakelite telephone, a record player, a radio, hats, t-shirts, and sunglasses. It was also possible to borrow suits, shirts and ties. From 1973, Sory created a collection of painted background canvas: a cityscape, a beach, an airport. Unreachable places for the common man or woman.
In addition to his daytime work in the studio, Sory spent several wakeful nights each week documenting the nightlife and music scene in his hometown. The music of Volta Jazz, Echo del Africa, Dafra Star and Imbattables Leopards.
When not looking for clients in nightspots such as Volta Dancing, Calebasse d'Or, Normandie or Dafra Bar, Sory left in the late afternoon for the remote villages of the Kou Valley northwest of Bobo Dioulasso to land a record player. , put up speakers and mood lighting, and throw parties that lasted from eight in the evening until early in the morning. He thus paved the way for epic dance evenings in the countryside.
The modest entrance fee ensured that everyone could be there. The nights lasted until after sunrise, after which the farmers and herders returned straight to their fields and livestock while Sanlé Sory went to his place behind the camera in Volta Photo studio.
Jour et Nuit shows in vital black and white images the awakening freedom, Upper Volta's resurrection and the joyful, carefree quest for independence and identity.