James Barnor – New exhibition

Barnor ® with Quarshie

Barnor ® with Quarshie

Veteran Ghanaian photographer James Barnor talks with Holby City actor Hugh Quarshie during the opening night of an exhibition of his work last week.

Held in collaboration with Italian photographer Daniele Tamagni at the October Gallery in Bloomsbury, it includes many of Barnor’s landmark images taken in Accra and London in the 1950s and ‘60s as well as some previously unseen work.

It follows the publication of a monograph of his work, Ever Young – the name of his studios in Accra – which he guided the Ghanaian-born Quarshie through.

It turns out that as a one time photo-journalist Barnor knew Quarshie’s father, who served as a minister of trade in Ghana in the 1970s.

Recognition has come late for the 87-year-old Barnor. Despite a substantial body of work amassed over six decades, his first major solo retrospective did not take place until 2010. Since then he has been exhibited at the Tate Britain and V&A and internationally, including Boston, Toronto, Cape Town and Paris.

Gentlemen of Bacongo by Daniele Tamagni

Gentlemen of Bacongo by Daniele Tamagni

“In fact I met Daniele in Paris last year and he suggested that we have a joint show,” Barnor said afterwards

Tamagni’s stock in trade are his vivid and surprising images of fashion sub-cultures in Africa, like the Sapeurs of Congo, who strut their stuff  like modern-day dandies in impeccably tailored, flamboyantly coloured clothes.

Like Barnor’s Swinging Sixites fashion shoots, they show the power of fashion to push the cultural and economic boundaries.

The exhibition, which was opened last Wednesday by Brett Rogers, director of the Photographer’s Gallery, and attended by the Mayor of Camden , Nadia Shah, runs until September 30.

This article originally appeared in West End Extra, September 16, 2016

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