Portraits of the North by Ben Bond Obiri Asamoah
Being a fashion and portrait photographer who lives and works in Accra, my perception of ‘the beautiful’ has been mediated by impressive architecture, high rise building, attractive surroundings, urban music and clothes, cosmetic environments and a whole lot of ‘plastic aesthetic’ that can be associated with the city. So traveling to the Bolgatanga in the upper east of Ghana afforded me the chance to experience ‘another beauty’; raw uncut, everyday, un polished beauties embodied in different personalities and different environments I came across. Speaking with the people and negotiating for permission to shoot them, gave me a chance to listen to different narratives unfamiliar to my experience in the city and also appreciate many beautifully contrasting and paradoxical situations; The spontaneous people as against the carefully selected models /spontaneous settings against ‘cosmetic’ studios/ordinary clothes as against stylish clothes of fashion models / and oh! no “super talented” M.U.A's.
So in creating this documentary project I used the ‘lens of glamour’ (as associated with my fashion photography) to capture the mundane. Every image captured in this project is a portal to the different narratives and experiences of the different people and environments I came across. I tried to capitalize on the magic of photographs, to scrutinize how my experience of the rural could be embodied in the image. So I find many resemblances between the glamorous (that am used to) and the mundane and also I appreciate a certain fantastic order that can be found in the spontaneous.