James Barnor: Accra/London - A Retrospective Catalogue

Add to Cart








This catalogue accompanies James Barnor’s major solo exhibition, James Barnor: Accra / London - A Retrospective, which will be at the Detroit Institute of Arts from May 28 – October 15, 2023.

Fully illustrated, this catalogue presents a comprehensive survey of the work of Ghanaian photographer James Barnor whose career spans more than six decades and records major social and political changes in London and Accra. A studio portraitist, photojournalist, and Black lifestyle photographer, Barnor was born in 1929 in the West African nation of Ghana. He established his famous Ever Young Studio in Accra in the early 1950s and devoted his early photography to documenting critical social and political changes that animated the nation on the cusp of independence from Britain.

After moving to London in 1959 to further his studies, he began a hugely successful career with influential South African magazine Drum, which captured the spirit and experiences of London’s burgeoning African diaspora. Upon his return to Ghana in the 1970s, Barnor established the country’s first color processing photo lab. An avid music enthusiast, he embedded himself in the social and highlife scene while continuing his work as a portrait photographer. He returned to London in 1994.

With a particular focus on the decades between 1950 and 1980, the included selections are drawn from Barnor's extensive but little-seen archive. Though the scope of his career is vast, a constant remains in Barnor's palpable connection to his subjects, whom he always captures with a keen and tender eye, imbuing his work with a feeling of familiarity.

This catalogue also includes a series of commissioned texts by architect Sir David Adjaye OBE, head of the photographic collection at Musée du quai Branly – Jacques Chirac, Paris, Christine Barthe, visual artist David Hartt, former model Erlin Ibreck and curator Alicia Knock. It also includes a new conversation between the artist and Serpentine Artistic Director, Hans Ulrich Obrist.

Paperback, 240 pages

Dimensions: 7 7/8" x 9 7/8" x 7/8"

Publication Date: November 30, 2021