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Article: James Barnor - Ever Young

Frances Hodgson

James Barnor - Ever Young

We absolutely love this new book from James BarnorComplete 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.

To introduce us to this new work is Sarah Preston, who initiated the production of the book and translated it into English:

When I discovered James Barnor's work for the first time - on Baudoin Lebon's stand at Paris Photo 2011 - it felt like a breath of fresh air. Saturated by French collections of West African studio photography, seeing outdoor images of every day life in Ghana in black and white, through the eyes of a Ghanaian rather than a white photographer, was a revelation.

Discovering Barnor's colour work from the 70s was the icing on the cake. Why had I never seen this before? Why had it not been exhibited? The question of the importance of showing archival material comes to mind. But also one wonders: how much stuff are we missing?

Amazingly, "Ever Young" is Barnor's first book (although he has previously been featured in group publications). The book is presented chronologically so as to introduce us fully to the work of this multi-talented man. Studio, street photography, fashion, reports, portraits, baby shots...It was never enough for "Lucky Jim" and the grass was always greener on the other side. And thanks to this thirst and passion for photography, we get to see Mr Kwame Nkrumzh kicking a football, Roy Ankrah eating Corn Flakes and Mike Eagan talking to the ears of a Lion.

But is this enough? Well, no, because really I want to see more of those photographic gems that I know are stacked up in boxes under Mr Barnor's desk...

The book is available here.