This is what Nigerians looked like in early-mid 20th century

In 1940s Benin Kingdom, Nigeria Solomon Osagie Alonge worked as the first official photographer for the Royal Court of Benin.

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Ever wondered what people as far back as the 1940s dressed like in Nigeria? Then join us on this trip down memory lane.

In 1940s Benin Kingdom, Nigeria Solomon Osagie Alonge worked as the first official photographer for the Royal Court of Benin.

Alonge, who eventually earned the title of "Chief" focused his practice on the reign and practices of two Obas over the course of Benin City’s history: Oba Akenzua II (1933–78) and Oba Erediauwa (1979–present).

But aside the royal happenings, Alonge photographed Nigeria's burgeoning social and cultural class in his 'The Ideal Studio' which he established in 1942.

Last September, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African Art debuted some of the nearly 3,000-image collection that Alonge had amassed over his lifetime in the exhibition  “Chief S.O Alonge: Photographer to the Royal Court of Benin, Nigeria", and the museum announced the exhibit will be extended until January 2016.

According to Washington Post which carried the photos, Alonge would mix his own chemicals, hand color and retouch many of his prints.

Also, many of his early photographs, including his self portraits, were taken outdoors because electricity was not available in Benin until 1945.

However after the availability of electricity, Alonge began photographing his subjects indoors, with studio lights, backdrops, and props.

Check out some of the photos from the collection above.

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