Interview // Nana Yaw Oduro

Posted by Michaëla Hadji-Minaglou on

Today, meet young photographer Nana Yaw Oduro. His poetic pictures showcasing male characters in situations both quirky and graphical, are part of the solo show "Some things mysterious boys do" running until June 14th.

Nana Yaw Oduro, Coal on Clay, 2019
Nana Yaw Oduro, Coal on Clay, 2019

Who are the people you take pictures of? 
Usually I put into perspective how my subject could be me on set. I always say: I’d rather shoot myself but since that’s impossible I need people who know, understand and relate to me. So I’d rather shoot people who are close and dear. People around me: basically, my family and friends.

You said that poetry was one of your sources of inspiration. What are the poems or poets that particularly inspire you? 
I believe there’s poetry in so many places and things we don’t even realize. Sometimes a random talk from a friend could mean so much. I just open my ears to the world enough! And obviously there are people I listen to on a daily. Those poets I believe have had influences on me, Charles Bukowski, Leonard Cohen, and a lot Buddy Wakefield.

What are your other inspirations?
Music. So it is basically what runs through my ears. Always!

Fruits and horses are elements that often appear in your pictures. Why? 
I really love to use my environs a lot. So I just wouldn’t know what I might get today. I might meet a horse today or not. I just go with it sometimes and maybe it happens to be horses and fruits always but trust, not all works are thought of for weeks. Some just happen sometimes moving around doing random stuff, luckily with a camera in hand. You see you capture! But obviously props do differ.

While bold colors are one of your signatures, how and why do you choose to create sometimes black and white pictures? 
I believe you’d agree with me black and white have always had some power and soulful connection to it and sometimes the photo is just perfect in that. Sometimes, it’s a preshoot decision. When I happen to  have a look of the final work in my head, other times, it just clicks after shooting. It’s got to do with the work and what it requires. I wouldn’t force color on every work.

What is the message that you want to convey through your work?
I’m basically always trying to show my emotions through actions. That’s why there’s a lot of that in my works. Also I believe that every artist has an obligation to represent something significant in their lives. With me, I always have masculinity, boyhood and all that at the back of my mind when creating and that seem to reflect almost all the time in my images.

What are your upcoming projects?
I’m currently working on continuing a long term project “No body’s favorite color is red” I started in 2015. 

About the exhibition
"Some things mysterious boys do" from May 27th to June 14th
Visit on appointment in our Parisian showroom and online