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James Barnor

Ghana Born in: 1929
James Barnor was born in Accra (Ghana) on June 6, 1929. He lives and works in London (England).

In 1949, at the age of 20, James Barnor opens his studio where he produces "Ever Young "portraits in the district of Jamestown in Accra. He photographs the modern and independent urban community. He enters the atmosphere of optimism of this society in the 1950 and 1960s, aspiring to a certain "Afro-modernity" and contributes to the empowering of the citizens through this new image; independence is declared in 1957.

His customers are from the middle classes and workers. He also photographs sports celebrities and politicians such as Kwame Nkrumah (who became the first president of the Republic of Ghana in 1960).

Barnor also worked as a photo-journalist for the newspaper The Daily Graphic and for the magazine Drum (based in South Africa in 1950, Drum is also published in Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria).

In 1959, Barnor goes to England to study photography at Medway College of Art in Rochester. In London, until 1969, he photographs the inhabitants of this city, also in transition, cosmopolitan and multicultural. For Drum, his snapshots capture the world of fashion and media, of various identities coming mainly from Africa, the United States and the Caribbean. He contributes particularly to the creationof the image of a transnational "Black London".

In the early 1970s, Barnor opens the first laboratory of color photography in Accra. He works for the Embassy of the United States and for J. J. Rawlings at the Osu Castle. In 1994, he moves back to London.

Barnor's work has been rediscoveredthe last years thanks to the ambitious research and collection of archives of the association Autograph ABP: Archive and Research Center for Culturally Diverse Photography.
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