AboutAutograph ABP presents the first comprehensive exhibition of James Barnor's street and studio photographs.
James Barnor's archive was produced during a career spanning more than sixty years. It covers a remarkable period in history, and bridges continents and photographic genres, as it creates a transatlantic narrative marked by his passionate interest in people and cultures. Many of the works from this period will be shown for the first time in the UK.
Through the medium of portraiture, Barnor's photographs represent societies in transition: Ghana moving towards its independence and London becoming a cosmopolitan, multicultural metropolis.
Introducing a newly preserved body of work from the late 1940s to the early 1970s, the exhibition showcases fashion portraits in glorious colour, social documentary, and street and studio photographs with elaborate backdrops, many commissioned for Drum magazine.
In the early 1950s, Barnor's photographic studio Ever Young was visited by civil servants and dignitaries, performance artists and newly-weds. During this period, Barnor captured intimate moments of luminaries such as Kwame Nkrumah as he pushed for pan-African unity, and commonwealth boxing champion Roy Ankrah. In 1960s London, he photographed Mohammad Ali preparing for a fight at London's Earl's Court and BBC Africa Service reporter Mike Eghan at Piccadilly Circus.
This exhibition emerges as a direct result of archival research supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), and is closely linked to the establishment of Autograph ABP's Archive and Research Centre for Culturally Diverse Photography, which opens to the public at Rivington Place in 2011.