Ramily who revealed the day
FROM APRIL 30 . 2022
TO JULY 30 . 2022
Between a retrospective and a tribute, the exhibition is dedicated to Emile Rakotondrazaka, better known as Ramily or affectionately called Dadamily. Indeed, Ramily is the father of Malagasy contemporary black and white photography. The exhibition will be a moment to highlight the genius of a photographer, a pioneer of the black and white, and an outstanding laboratory worker.
EMILE RAKOTONDRAZAKA . RAMILY
Emile Rakotondrazaka, also known as Ramily or Dadamily, was born on September 25, 1939, in Antohomadinika, a district of the city of Antananarivo. The eldest of 10 siblings, he is the son of the carpenter Rakotozafy and Razanapanalina.
At the age of ten, in 1949, he was raised by Pastor Rasolonjatovo, whose son was a photographer. His first encounter with photography began when he followed his “adoptive” brother to carry out “identity card operations” in the towns and villages of Madagascar, whilst Madagascar was still under colonial rule.
In 1956, at the age of 17, Ramily worked as an assistant photo laboratory technician at PHOTOFLEX, located in Analakely, Avenue de l’Indépendance, and run by the French photographer Mesli d’Arloze. His talents in developing darkroom photography techniques began to draw his attention. His employer greatly appreciated his mastery of chemical processes, and Ramily excelled as a laboratory technician.
In 1968, he opened his first development laboratory—still very modest but already very well known—in the historic area of Ankadifotsy, in the basement of a bookstore run by his wife.
Two years later, in 1970, he moved to Itaosy, where he relocated his development laboratory, which had become larger and more sophisticated. A first for Madagascar, he then created a photography studio and later on, would even start a wooden framing workshop.
Between the 1970s and 2000s, Ramily successively exhibited in the premises of Air Madagascar, at the Albert Camus Cultural Centre (now the French Institute of Madagascar), at the CITE (Centre d’Information Technique et Économique [Technical and Economic Information Centre]), at Alliance Française de Tananarive and even in the streets of the city of Antananarivo, with a group of photographer friends. He has also participated in several editions of the Mois de la Photo, the Photoana Festival, and a biennial of photographic encounters in the Indian Ocean, which all took place in Antananarivo. On two occasions, the international magazine “Revue Noire” even devoted articles to him.
Ramily is also a founding member of two photographers’ associations including the “Association des Photographes de Madagascar” and the “Association des Photographes de Tananarive.”
Among his last public appearances, in 2007, he participated in an international exhibition of contemporary art, “30 et Presque-Songes” initiated by Joël Andrianomearisoa in Antananarivo.
An icon of photography, Ramily is the reference point for silver prints in Madagascar, with his career reaching its peak from the 1970s. He stopped his work as a laboratory technician in 2003, the year he suffered a heart attack. Ramily passed away on March 26, 2017, in Antananarivo, leaving behind hundreds of poetic landscapes, carefully crafted prints, black and white wedding and solemn event shots. Above all, he left an unprecedented passion for photography, generously shared with younger generations of photographers.