FUTURE REMEMBRANCE

PHOTOGRAPHY AND IMAGE ART IN GHANA

Tobias Wendl
Germany | BetaSP, OmeU
Q&A with: Tobias Wendl

In the small fish­ing towns of Ghana, the photographer´s studio is the place to go. To get “snapped” – wear­ing the latest fash­ion, or posing with a long-lost friend – for “future remem­brance”, to show how that dress was so becom­ing, how durable the friend­ship, how you made your living – so that one could be remem­bered by every­body. Later a pho­to­graph might be used after death, in the cre­ation of a cement tomb sculp­ture or a hyper­re­al­ist life-size paint­ing on the grave. Pho­tog­ra­phy has a long his­to­ry in Ghana and is an impor­tant part of every­day life. Philip Kwame Apagya owner of “P.K.’ s Normal Photo Studio” presents his paint­ed back­drops, the well-equipped room-divider which some people think is “real” and the expen­sive res­i­dence which could be theirs. He con­ducts us to the for­eign owned colour lab, the most sig­nif­i­cant new arrival in Ghana­ian pho­tog­ra­phy and takes us to the side­walk “Wait & Get” pho­tog­ra­phers in Kumasi. In short detours, Stephen Zanoo explains his eye-catch­ing tomb art, while artist-body­builder Jasper presents paint­ed video posters of muscle men. Ghana­ian pho­tog­ra­phy cel­e­brates both the real­i­ty of illu­sions and the illu­sions of real­i­ty.