Architecture of the Middle Niger River in Mali:

Conformity, Innovation, and Diversity

Importance of the Human Presence


Seeing people alongside architecture in photographs offers an opportunity to look into a culture. Images of humans help to suggest relative importance, and this is best accomplished by showing people in the midst of everyday activities: working, studying, strolling, washing, and preparing for prayer (Cover Photo, Figs. 3, and 7). If people are absent, then functional articles left in their place accomplish the same goal (Figs. 6 and 7). Another reason to include people in architectural photos is to give viewers a sense of scale. The size of a structure registers immediately when people are shown next to it (Cover Photo, Figs. 3, 5, and 7).