James Barnor

Accra/London – A Retrospective


“His portraits of the African diaspora in Britain in the ’60s capture both the hope and resilience of those within the nascent Black Power Movement, as well as their glorious eye for style…”VOGUE magazine

A major retrospective survey of British-Ghanaian photographer James Barnor (b.1929), whose career spans six decades, two continents and numerous photographic genres through his work with studio portraiture, photojournalism, editorial commissions and wider social commentary.

The photographer established his famous Ever Young studio in Accra in the early 1950s, capturing a nation on the cusp of independence in an ambiance animated by conversation and highlife music.

In 1959 Barnor arrived in London, furthering his studies and continuing assignments for influential South African magazine ‘Drum’ which reflected the spirit of the era and the experiences of the city’s burgeoning African diaspora.

He returned to Ghana in the early 1970s to establish the country’s first colour processing lab while continuing his work as a portrait photographer and embedding himself in the music scene. Then he returned to London in 1994.

Featuring a series of commissioned texts by Sir David Adjaye OBE, Christine Barthe, David Hartt, Erlin Ibreck and Alicia Knock. It also includes a new conversation between the artist and Serpentine Artistic Director, Hans Ulrich Obrist.

Published on the occasion of the exhibition, ‘James Barnor: Accra/London – A Retrospective’ at Serpentine Gallery, London (19 May – 22 October 2021).

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