Remembering James Barnor, the First Man Who Saw Ghana Differently Through His Camera

It was in the hands of James Barnor that the women of Ghana found a place on the British Magazines’ covers.

He, through his photography, presented a saga of the changing fashion of Ghana that was approaching towards its liberty. Presently, aged 87, his works are now being showcased in a London Gallery as well as in Instagram.

It was during 1947, Mr. Barnor started working, and he made up his studio in Jamestown district of Accra in 1950. That time he took photos of the local native people and subsequently received the press’ commission.

While he was shooting in the country, it was going through some major changes in the fields of music and fashion inspired by the modern world and its innovations. He went to UK and started working with the Drum, a South African magazine.

For this magazine, he shot many images and along with this he made his own brand inclusive of documentary photographs. The pictures that he used during his work in UK played a pivotal role to make a place for black models in the British Media.

He then returned to Ghana in the year 1970 for opening a studio that was the first of its kind as it was a color photo processing studio. During that time, Barnor was the only one to shoot the country and its people and process all the images in color.

Although Mr. Barnor thinks that the country is presently in the grasp of colonialism, the founding editor of “Africa Is A Country” Sean Jacobs has summed up Barnor’s beautiful works as ‘decolonizing Ghana.’

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