Revisiting Ghana

It’s been eight months since I traveled to Ghana to document the building of a school in a habitat village called Kyekyewere. I struggled with the ethics of appropriating split seconds that I thought would best represent poverty, hope, and beauty to those who would see the images. Many of the adults refused to have their photographs taken at all, thrusting children in front of camera lenses, shields dodging the firing. Others demanded money or simply gestured an inapproval of sorts. I learned a lot about the implications of a photograph, third world non-profits, and myself on the trip, filling much of a sketchbook with miscellaneous thoughts and missing my husband most waking moments.

Home, I tore through the images and selected those to submit for shows and exhibitions, most of which never occurred. I selected and edited still very much submerged in the culture I had just left behind. Ghanaian culture is some strange tapestry of western celebrity, red dust, and tribal tradition. The photograph above is quite easily my favorite I took. It was in some market full of spices, fish oil in recycled water bottles, and keychains. Framed within a frame the young girl sits at bored attention. She seemed underwhelmed by the myriad of Americans suddenly at her stall; she knew we were not there for spices.

I am just now returning to my unedited photographs from Ghana. Further removed from the experience, overlooked moments take on a new significance, and I have discovered a whole new set of images.

 

 

In all my hurry, in all her beauty, I  never noticed her hesitance, her one arm still in the door.

 

In other parts of my world, one of my cyanotypes has been accepted into a student exhibition, Self Observed, being held at the North Carolina Museum of Art in conjunction with their Rembrandt in America exhibition. The exhibit runs from October 30th through January 20th.

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