Christoph’s photographs as a Black Star photographer have been published in Life, National Geographic, and many other publications. His first African assignment was in 1969.
“In the beginning during the early ’70s I visited Ghana several times and then I did a lot of work in Ethiopia during the first big drought of 1974,” Christoph told Eric Makin. “I was there when Haile Selassie was overthrown and got caught up in the coup.
“That was a pretty hairy experience…The people were on the streets, it was very dangerous, and when I was trying to get out to the airport on one of the last planes leaving for Europe with Air Italia, I had a cab driver who started to drive me to the airport, but the people started to stone the cab … The driver wanted to put me out onto the street and I had to ‘force’ him to drive to the airport; otherwise I would have been killed. I’d rather not say how I forced him.
“In fact, I was caught up in a few coups. I was in Ghana when Rawlings took over from Acheampong. In addition I was in Burkina Faso, Niger, Senegal, Gambia and Guinea. At a later stage I was in Rwanda covering the genocide there.”
In the 1990s, the German-born Christoph developed a fascination with African animism. In 1995, he published the book Voodoo: Secret Power in Africa. More recently, Christoph delved deeper into African religious beliefs with Soul of Africa: Magical Rites and Traditions.
Today’s images in the Black Star Photoblog show Ghanaian adherents of Mami Wata.