James Barnor Exhibition
Life according to James Barnor offers an interdisciplinary view of the pivotal themes of his work. The exhibition aims to go beyond a rhetorical categorization of 40 years of photography and draws inspiration in particular from James Barnor's final photographs in Ghana in the 70's and 80's. Relatively unexplored, until now, they have emerged as symbols of the accomplishments of his work, characterized by a lightness, a freedom and joie de vivre that are shared by the subject in his photographs.
About James Barnor
Born in 1929 in Ghana, James Barnor experienced first-hand his country’s independence as well as the formation of the diaspora to London in the 1960s. In the early 1950s, he opened his famous Ever Young studio in Accra, where he immortalised a nation craving modernity and independence in an ambiance that was animated by conversation and highlife music.
He was the first photo-journalist to collaborate with the Daily Graphic, a newspaper published in Ghana by the London Daily Mirror Group. Close to Drum, an important lifestyle magazine founded in South Africa in 1951 and symbol of the anti-apartheid movement, he did several assignments for them in a climate of euphoria and celebration.
In 1959, two years after Ghana’s independence, Barnor left for London, a city in the throes of becoming a multicultural capital, to further his photographic knowledge. He discovered colour processing at the Medway College of Art and his photos were published on the front cover of Drum. He eloquently caught the zeitgeist of Swinging London and the experiences of the African diaspora in the capital.
Towards the end of the 1960s he was recruited by Agfa-Gevaert and returned to Ghana to set up the country’s first colour laboratory. There he stayed for the next 20 years, working in his new X23 studio as an independent photographer in Accra. Today Barnor lives in the UK devoting most of his time to his work, in a spirit of transmission.