Sory Sanlé's best photograph: the studio where dreams came true

By Edward Siddons

‘We fulfilled people's fantasies. We gave them a chance to experiment, to escape their ordinary lives. The aeroplane backdrop was particularly popular'

I grew up in a rural area of what is now Burkina Faso, but I moved to Bobo-Dioulasso, the country's second city, when I was about 17. There was a real buzz about the town. I started taking ID photos, straight-up portraits, for a small fee. With the help of my cousin Idrissa Koné, who was a musician and entrepreneur, I was able to set up a studio called Volta Photo. That's when it all began.

At first, I only had one backdrop, a set of Roman columns. But in my second studio, I had a bit more space, so I commissioned a few more from artists in Ghana and Benin. The aeroplane backdrop was particularly popular with young people who couldn't afford to travel. It gave them a chance to experiment, to escape their ordinary lives and play with elements of the modern world. My studio fulfilled people's fantasies.

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