James Barnor

b. 1929, Ghana

Accra, Studio Ever Young, 1954
Archival print
Edition of 5

Image courtesy Galerie Clémentine de la Féronnière, France
This Ghanian-born, London based photographer is known for his portraits of women. He established his first photographic studio in Accra, named Studio Ever Young. This is where this image was taken. The cloud backdrop appears in many images taken during this time.

While many of the images in circulation now, which date back to the fifties show Ghanian women with 50s hairstyles, this one remarkably shows the subject from behind with the focus on her detailed hairdo, which does not mimic western 50s styles, but rather evokes traditional ones.

“James’ career covers a remarkable period in history, bridging continents and photographic genres to create a fascinating compendium of transatlantic visual narratives marked by his passionate interest in people and cultures. Through the medium of portraiture, his photographs brilliantly document societies in transition: Ghana moving towards its independence in the 1950s and London becoming a cosmopolitan, multicultural metropolis in the 1960s,” curator Renée Mussai, Autograph gallery, London, June 2020.