James Barnor Ghana, b. 1929


Born in 1929 in the Ghanaian capital city of Accra, James Barnor has worked in a broad range of areas including portrait photography, photojournalism, fashion, and music. He has been based in the UK since 1993. He came to global attention through a 2021 retrospective at London’s Serpentine Galleries, which offered a comprehensive look at his work between the 1950s and 1980s. During his career of over six decades, Barnor represents societies in transition in the 1950s and 1960s with his own sensibility and artistic vision: Ghana moving toward independence, and London becoming a multicultural metropolis. He was Ghana's first photojournalist in the 1950s and introduced colour processing to Ghana when he returned in 1969.


While Barnor has worked in London since the early 1990s, his work is included in the collections of numerous outstanding institutions including the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York, the Centre Pompidou and Musée du Quai Branly in Paris, and the Victoria and Albert Museum, Tate Modern, National Portrait Gallery in London.