Do you know the photographer called James Barnor ? Before going to the exhibition I went to last week, I only knew his name and one of his iconic photograph I saw on books or articles (the one on the top).
James Barnor is actually a ghanaian photographer usually recognised for all his photographs taken in the advent of the ghanaian independence and the local changing way of life at the dawn of it on one hand. On the other, he’s famous for covering the london black community life (the ghananian diaspora for the most part) in the 1960s.
I actually decided to went to this exhibition as I read his name in a fashion related context. Then there, from discussing with a nice guide at the exhibition plus making my research, I discovered that he developed a style at the crossroads of streetstyle and fashion photography. He did so along with his work for the very popular magazine at the time : Drum (a south-african lifestyle magazine, well-known for its position against apartheid).
I really appreciated it. It’s always a great pleasure to discover how black women shined throughout the ages, everywhere they were : the style, the hair, the attitude. I talk about women because of the various fashion photographs he made. But he had something with women too as they are really prominent in his work.
You will also notice some photographs are in color while other are not. He was actually the first photographer to make colored photographs in Ghana, a know-how he brought from UK.
Here are some picture I liked from that exhibition.
His muse Erlin Ibreck he spotted across the street – London, 1966
One of the first policewomen in Ghana (Selina Opong) – Accra, 1954
An assistant – Accra, 1971
Despite his long working as a photographer for over sixty years, his work has only been recognised lately (in the early 2000s). The gallery Clémentine de la Feronnière is now working with James Barnor on restoring all his archives as the work of the artist is monumental.
If you want to know a little more, I would suggest you this book.
To finish, here are other photographs of him I liked but which were not exposed at the exhibition.
His muse, the nigerian actress Marie Hallowi – London, 1966
Women talking – Accra, Early 1970s
Outside his studio – Accra, 1971
By the way, I choose to show you photographs I picked on the internet rather than pictures of the pictures I took for a better quality 🙂