Every year, on the 19th of August, the world celebrates the invention of the art, science, craft and history of photography.
2019 marks the 179th Anniversary of photography and as the world celebrates World Photography day in various forms, we’ve curated a list of Ghana’s finest visual artists telling our collective stories with their lens.
These men and woman are continuously using their images to start conversations, shape perspectives and capture some of the favourite moments in our world.
From fashion photographers capturing couture pieces to the photojournalists at the forefront of the news, here are 10 of the best Ghanaian photographers on the planet.
The “Godfather” of Ghanaian photograph, James Barnor was born in 1929 in Accra. He is widely acknowledged as the first photographer of Ghanaian origin and worked as the Daily Graphic’s first photojournalist as well as the ersthwhile Drum Magazine. He is also credited with introducing colour processing to Ghana in the ’70s. In 1953, he set up the Ever Young studio in Jamestown capturing some of the Gold Coast and later Ghana’s iconic fashion trends of that era. He moved to the UK in 1959, where he studied photography at Medway College of Art in Kent and continued to work on commissions for Drum, in London, shooting multinational models for its covers. The 90-year-old “Ever Young” photographer has a career that spans over 60 years. In 2016, President John Dramani Mahama at the National Honours and Awards Ceremony conferred on him The Order of the Volta for his contribution to Ghana’s history.
Nana Kofi Acquah
Known as the Africa Show boy, photojournalist, firebrand social commentator and these days pastor at the Accra Commuinity Church is another Ghanaian whose images has shaped the photography industry in Ghana and Africa. Nana discovered photography when he worked in advertising agency.
In an interview with CNN, he told the media organization how he got involved in the field. “I have a painting background and so I was quite shocked at how naturally I took to photography. With mastery of the craft came a desire to use it for more than just making pretty pictures. At this moment in my life, my photography is about telling important stories that help challenge and hopefully change perceptions (of) Africa.” he said.
Nana Kofi Acquah has worked with Oxfam GB, The Global Fund, Americares, Nike, BBC, The Financial Times, BASF, Novartis Foundation, ActionAid, WaterAid, Facebook, Hershey’s, AfDB, Standard Bank etc in various capacities as photographer, writer and filmmaker
Nana is also an assignment photographer for Getty Images and a World Press Photo Competition 2019 Jury Member.
His Instagram account was listed by Shutterstock as one of the best 100 to follow for photography enthusiasts.
Emmanuel Bobbie popularly known as Bob Pixel is a household name in Ghanaian photography having mentored a number of young photographers in the industry. Based in Accra Bob started his famous Bobpixel studios in 2005 and his works can be seen in advertising, landscape, portrait and documentary across the world. His images to engage the viewer in a visual feast that leaves them fully satisfied and coming back for more. He is the photographer of several celebrities and models including Yvonne Nelson. As a fashion and lifestyle photographer, his use of creative light and colour has created some of the industry’s most remarkable imagery. In recent times, he’s captured National events and traditional festivals with verve and enthusiasm. His documentary of late features Ghanaian craftsmen and artisans creating some of the aesthetically-pleasing home décor and living pieces.
Most Ghanaians both home and abroad live vicariously off Yaw Pare’s images of the motherland. A self-taught photographer, Yaw Pare travels across Ghana highlighting its hidden tourist treasures. A born artist, Yaw painted in various mediums with pencil, charcoal, oil/water colour and stippling till he found photography. The celebrated photographer said he felt it was quite time-consuming and therefore changed his art to capture images when he first moved to Ghana. Aside from the photos of places, food, and clothes that express the beautiful Ghanaian culture and identity, he educates his fans on the history and other important facts of the images. In 2019, an image of his GHS 100,000 invoice to the Ghana Export Promotion Council was leaked by members of the opposition, NDC, for being overpriced but social media came to his aide citing the work he had done in face lifting domestic tourism. According to most netizens, it was indeed value for money.
Quincy Koranteng (Vine Imagery)
Kwesi Asephua is to Ghanaian fashion what Peter Lindbergh is to global fashion and we are not mincing words. His work as a fashion and runway photographer covers an array of topics including identity, sexuality, feminism, mental health, beauty, and art; often spearheading conversations around these very dicey topics. Asephua’s crisp and rich photography has redefined what it means to be a model in the West-African nation having shot and given rise to some of Ghana’s biggest modelling exports currently walking the runways of Milan, Paris and Johannesburg. The emotive style of his photographs has found him in the pages of Vogue Italia, Elle South Africa, Afropunk, Glitz Africa, Kodd Magazine, Trendy Prive just to name a few. Every runway show from January to December in Accra has Asephua’s signature photography boldly embossed in it. He also doubles as a menstyle blogger, documenting Ghana’s funky and eclectic fashion scene.
Even from faraway New York, Joshua is constantly waving the flag of Ghana high and directing everyone who matters to Ghana through his imagery and commentary. The Ghanaian-American blogger, photographer and artist started out 10 years ago with a creative agency he co-founded, Street Etiquette, which contains a strong trait for storytelling, branding, and marketing through visuals on the web. He is currently the co-founder of TONL, a stock photography company dedicated to capturing images of people of colour and reconstructing the black narrative. His “VSCO” style of edits have given his work an artsy feel which also allowed him to boldly and defiantly approach certain topics in the rather conservative country of Ghana. His art explores marriage, religion, ethnic practices, culture, travel and the intersections of being African and American.
Mel Arthur comes to the field of photography with a recent degree in Film/Communication design from KNUST and a passion to transform the human form into classic pieces of art. A contemporary fashion photographer and editor, Mel boldly stands tall figuratively and literally among his compatriots as one of the best to click the shutter. His body of work also consists of weddings, events, landscape, musicians and models. Capturing youth culture and night life across the continent is another of his specialties, making him a favourite amongst Accra’s youthful populace. His debut photography exhibition, Nyɜ Kɛ Wɔ (which means Yesterday and Today in his native Ga-language) explores the influences of 90’s and 2000’s fashion on today’s youth culture. It starts from the 23rd to the 30th of August, 2019. Mel Arthur is bursting at the seams with so much potential, creativity and truth be told the world is not ready for this maverick.
Senyuiedzorm Awusi Adadevoh
A sports photography virtuoso, Awusi Adadevoh is the only female on this list and a force to reckon with in this field. Senyuiedzorm’s work as photojournalist in football has put her at the forefront of the action and news worldwide. Since 2005, she has produced majority of Ghana’s imagery on local/ international sports and has had to risk her life on several occasions in the line of duty amidst the heckling and name-calling from misogynistic folks. She is the founder of Solvers Ghana, which is made up of ImagesImage & ImagesImage.com (a photo bank where they provide images from Archeology to Zoology with specialisation in SPORTS). She has shot three FIFA World Cup tournaments, six African Cup of Nations, an Olympic tournament and a plethora of international sports events as well as its stakeholders.
Paa Kwesi (Focus N Blur)
Focus on the positives and blur the negative; this is the vision that pushes Paa Kwesi of FocusnBlur to create those mind-blowing and thought-provoking images. His company is currently Ghana’s Number 1 Wedding photography company capturing some of the most luxury and resplendent ceremonies. The power of the images and the in-depth storytelling it employs has made him a favourite amongst wedding magazine and digital platforms.
High fashion, beauty editorials and magazine covers has became synonymous with Joseph Carlyle Amoateng’s Phloshop company. Known as a master retoucher, his application of the digital photography tools has catapulted him into higher heights. From rendition of Vogue Covers to glamorous lookbooks and dazzling magazine covers, he’s a sought-after name in the industry.
Gyasi who identifies as a visual artist rather than a photographer shoots with his iPhone and edits with VSCO applications plus other presets. In 2018, Nil Gallery Paris signed him unto their gallery allowing him to exhibit his pieces across the USA. He exhibited in the Seattle Contemporary Art fair, Texas Contemporary Art Fair, Artsy & Context Art Miami and pulse Contemporary Art Fair (Art Basel Miami) during this period. Apple also commissioned him to create a remake of the famous “A DAY IN HARLEM ” with Ghanaian artistes in 2018.