The Croydon Photography Forum guest speaker in February is the veteran and pioneer photographer, James Barnor.
Despite being a photographer for more than six decades, Barnor’s work is only now truly beginning to receive the recognition that it deserves. His work has been exhibited recently at Harvard, the National Gallery in Cape Town, and the Victoria & Albert Museum in London.
His archive of street and studio portraiture covers a remarkable period in history, bridging continents and photographic genres, marked by his passionate interest in people and cultures.
His work documents societies in transition: Ghana moving towards its independence, and London becoming a multicultural metropolis during the “Swinging Sixties”. His extensive portfolio of street and studio portraiture include many commissioned by Drum magazine, Africa’s first Black politics and lifestyle publication.
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, he 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.
Barnor was the first photographer to offer colour film development in Ghana. His passion for darkroom photographic practices still lives on even at the age of 85, as he describes the processes as being therapeutic. However, his overwhelming passion is to inspire the next generation of photographers as he continues exhibit his work and offers words of advice to those who have an interest in the art form.
There is no cost to attend the Croydon Photography Forum as the Lenses of Croydon team want to ensure that the forum is accessible to all. However, we do welcome contributions which help to offset the costs associated with running this event each month.
The Forum takes place on Tuesday, February 9, from 6.30 to 9.30pm at CVA Resource Centre – 82 London Road Croydon, Surrey CR0 2TB.
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