One of James Barnor’s dreams was to become a police officer but before he decided to finally join the police force, his uncle gifted him a camera.
Barnor had already exhibited some skills in photography during his teen years as an apprentice at his cousin’s studio, but this was his first time getting his own camera.
With his gift, he set up a studio in Jamestown in Ghana’s capital, Accra and later started the popular “Ever Young” studio in 1953.
Barnor also worked with Ghanaian print media while freelancing and later selling his images to other publications such as the South African magazine Drum.
To increase his skills, Barnor traveled to England where his scope of work centered on Africans in Britain including black models. He grabbed lots of attention as he was able to showcase his works via exhibitions such as Black Cultural Archives, Rivington Place and the London Borough of Hounslow.
Photographing many high-profile figures such as Kwame Nkrumah, the Duchess of Kent and former Vice-President Richard Nixon, his notable works documented life in Ghana from the late 1940s to 1950s as well as African life in London during the “swinging sixties” which included Muhammad Ali.
90-year-old Barnor is so far hailed as being Ghana’s first full-time photographer and the one who introduced color processing to the West African nation in the 1970s.
Check out some of his amazing works below: