Following the success of the Atelier Photo Panafricain d’Accra in 2009, this second springboard workshop before the Biennial elected to focus on the work of up-and-coming photographers in Ghana.To run the workshop, designed to nurture candidates for the 2011 Encounters, the natural choice was Denis Dailleux, a photographer with the Vu agency, based in Egypt, but who regularly visits Ghanian shores for work on their fishing communities. It is indeed interesting to compare his perspective as an outsider to their world, which produces almost timeless images slowed down to the pace and rigours of analog photography, with the frenetic fervour of young picture hunters from the country itself, all of whom have grown up with digital devices. The nine candidates selected, including three young women, were professionals under 40. In their approach, there is a clear attempt to follow in the footsteps of their African photographer forefathers, but they manage to liberate themselves, with dynamism and even effrontery, from traditions and technical constraints. In so doing, they have reinvented the way studio photography is applied to advertising and fashion, turning their backs on weddings and funerals to focus their attention on the street.Taming daily life, they have seized photo-reportage to explore important social and environmental issues. Via their internet site, they have set out on a conquest of this new world, selling photos to NGOs, agencies and international magazines; occasionally they will cover sporting events which take them to all four corners of the planet.
The workshop, on the “Sustainable World” theme, naturally asked questions of the role of this new generation of photographers, and what visions could be communicated to a world in perpetual motion where aesthetics change and images accelerate so quickly that everything blurs. In this context, how can one produce images to help sustain the world?
Once more this year, the Atelier d’Accra will have enabled two young Ghanian photographers to present their work in the Pan-African Exhibition: Nyani Quarmyne, with his uncannily beautiful images of sand building on the coastal regions of Ghana and Nana Kofi Acquah, who captures the open-air abattoirs on the beaches of the capital.
It is our great pleasure to be able to share with the international public of Bamako the black and white shots of Nii Obodai, in a monograph in the form of a controlled meander, a voyage of initiation in search of the essential. Another monograph with a place of honour at the Encounters this year is the journey of the Chadian Abdoulaye Barry, an award winner at the 2009 Encounters, thanks to his work with the Atelier d’Accra. This workshop, a genuine hotbed of talent, is another milestone of the French Embassy in Ghana’s dynamic input into photography; over the last few years, the Embassy has distinguished itself as a key supporter of the visual arts. It is also a port of call for artists on their own personal journeys. Artists with careers taking off and with itineraries that go from strength to strength over the years.
Valérie Lesbros, Cultural Attaché at the French Embassy in Ghana
Visa pour Bamako. Images for Sustaining the World
Workshop directed by Denis Dailleux
Participants: Nana Kofi Acquah, Senyuiedzorm Adadevoh, Emmanuel Bobbie, Karen Botchway, Kwabena Danso, Ruth Odura Nketiah,Vera Obeng and Nyani Quarmyne