The first book about the acclaimed photographer. Born in 1929 in Ghana, James Barnor has left an incisive mark on the history of photography. From the establishment of his Ever Young photo studio in Accra in the 1950s, to international assignments for the influential magazine Drum, he captured societies in transition: a burgeoning Ghana, marching toward independence, and Swinging Sixties London growing into a multicultural metropolis.
Complete with new writing, an interview with the artist by Francis Hodgson and Margaret Busby, as well as his commentary on selected photos, this book - his first monograph - presents an overview of Barnor's photography from the late 1940s to his pioneering work in colour of the 1970s.
James Barnor began his career in photography typically, as an apprentice in a colonial portrait studio of a relative, his cousin J. P. Do- doo. But in a unique career spanning over six decades, bridging continents and photographic genres, Barnor would "migrate" into creating a singular portfolio of street and studio portraiture depicting societies in transition. In the process, Barnor would become, uniquely perhaps, the only African studio photographer to leave the continent prior to 1960 to study and practice in Europe.
Whether in Ghana or England, Barnor documented cultures in transformation, new identities coming into being - the fragmented experience of modernity and diaspora, the shaping of cosmopolitan societies and selves, and the changing representation of blackness, desire and beauty across time and space. His archive thus constitutes not only a rare document of the black experience in post-war Britain during the Swinging Sixties, but also provides an important frame of reference, overlapping and stitching together questions of the post-colonial in relation to diasporic perspectives in twentieth-century photography.