It's been more than a decade since we introduced James Barnor's remarkable photographs to the (art)world at large with his first comprehensive solo exhibition at Autograph's gallery in 2010. We are releasing signed hardcover copies of our popular monograph co-published with éditions Clémentine de la Féronnière, James Barnor: Ever Young, with a choice of two limited edition silver gelatin prints also signed by the artist — a rare opportunity to own a Barnor print, while supporting the artist and Autograph's arts and learning programmes.
To celebrate, we're sharing some of the iconic photographs from the book here. Born in 1929 in Accra, Barnor is today considered a pioneer of Ghanaian contemporary photography, with a career that spans six decades and covers a remarkable period in history, bridging continents and photographic genres to create transatlantic narratives marked by his passionate interest in people and cultures.
Through street and studio portraiture, Barnor’s photographs represent societies in transition: Ghana moving towards its independence and London becoming a cosmopolitan, multicultural metropolis during the ‘swinging sixties’.
“Whether in Ghana or England, Barnor documented cultures in transformation, new identities coming into being - the fragmented experience of modernity and diaspora, the shaping of cosmopolitan societies and selves, and the changing representation of blackness, desire and beauty across time and space. ”
— Renée Mussai, Curator / Editor
A trained studio photographer and photojournalist, Barnor photographed friends and family as well as fashion models and celebrities, who would pose for him against the backdrop of the city’s most iconic monuments — often commissioned by Drum magazine, South Africa’s influential anti-apartheid journal for lifestyle and politics — before returning to Accra in 1969. He is now widely recognised as a major figure in contemporary African photography and celebrated globally.
This photograph is available as a limited edition print, presented with Autograph's hardcover monograph James Barnor: Ever Young. Exclusively available from Autograph's online shop.
This photograph is available as a limited edition print presented with Autograph's hardcover monograph James Barnor: Ever Young. Exclusively available from Autograph's online shop.
James Barnor signing his limited edition print Coffee night at Theobald’s Road, at Autograph on November 30, 2021. Part our Autograph Editions series to help raise funds to support our arts and learning programmes.
Autograph is immensely proud of our work with James Barnor over many years, starting in 2009 during The Missing Chapter. The mission of this project was to promote and preserve the work of key —and often unrecognised—artists working in photography and cultural identity politics in Britain. Led by our senior curator Renée Mussai, this programme resulted in the ground-breaking 2010 exhibition James Barnor: Ever Young and the artist’s first monograph published five years later in collaboration with Clémentine de la Féronnière gallery. In the decade since, we have helped open a continuous process of recognition for Barnor's remarkable work and his crucial contributions to the history of photography.
The Ever Young exhibition has toured internationally since to prestigious galleries and museums. To ensure Barnor's lasting legacy, Autograph has placed many of Barnor's now-iconic photographs in major collections, including a selection of the artist's vintage and modern works accessioned into Autograph's collection of photography.
Exploring issues of race, identity, representation, rights and social justice
Our senior curator Renée Mussai reflects on Barnor's legacy
The original curatorial research into James Barnor’s work, culminating in the James Barnor: Ever Young exhibition at Autograph, was supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. A further selection of vintage photographs by Barnor was acquired for Autograph’s collection of photography during our project In A Different Light (2016-17), also supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
James Barnor: Ever Young is edited by Renée Mussai. The James Barnor: Ever Young exhibition was curated by Renée Mussai.
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Autograph is a place to see things differently. Since 1988, we have championed photography that explores issues of race, identity, representation, human rights and social justice, sharing how photographs reflect lived experiences and shape our understanding of ourselves and others.Donate Join our mailing list