The portraitist and studio photographer Adama Kouyaté was born in the small town of Bougouni, then part of the French-Sudan, now Mali. In 1944, in pursuit of work, Kouyaté travelled to the capital city, Bamako, and, in a turn of good fortune in 1946, he was offered an apprenticeship with Bakary Doumbia, a well-known studio photographer at the time.
In 1947, Kouyaté entered the first photolab of the former Sudan (the so- called Photo Hall Soudanais) under the direction of Pierre Garnier, and only two years later, opened his own studio in the city of Kati, some nine miles outside of Bamako, and aptly christened Photo Hall Kati. Following this, Kouyaté travelled across West Africa (over a period of ten years) fleetingly residing in Lomé, Togo, Abidjan and Ouagadougou, to eventually settle in Bouaké, where he established the studio Photo Hall Ivoire.
After the 1968 military coup, Kouyaté returned to Mali and set up a studio in Ségou, where he continues to live and work to this day. Still in demand at the age of eighty-five, Kouyaté remains ever hard-at-work at his remarkable studio photography practice.