NANA YAW ODURO is a ghanaian photographer born in 1994 AND BASED IN ACCRA.
He graduated from the business class of the University of Ghana in May 2017 and started photographing in 2015. Nana Yaw Oduro’s photos provide fictional self-portraits in which his models are like actors, playing a biographical role. Nana Yaw Oduro is, thus, the stage director of his own emotions during the performance of a photo shoot.
The pictorial composition helps to read these personal stories: the characters are individualised and stand out from their surroundings. The space of each picture is defined without being too precise: a piece of beach, a cracked piece of land, a blue wall... It could be anywhere and at the same time nowhere. Arousing the curiosity of the viewer, these captures seem out of time. They embody a desire for freedom with the only existing boundary being the photographer’s imagination.
The stories his pictures present are composed using a mixture of his personal emotions, evident in the colours of his environment. Nana Yaw Oduro uses alternatively tender, pure, or raw colors in his photographs, alongside those captured in black and white. Whether the colours are bold or in shades of grey, the chromatic treatment structures his images and produces a certain softness and harmony between shapes and colours, between man and nature; underpinning the narrative. Thus, there is no predetermined and systematically repeated concept in Nana Yaw Oduro’s work. The photographer creates each of his images based on his sensation. He is free from any rule and lets his imagination wander, composing with what is in existence around him. His photos are inspired by daily life, a song running through his ears, a horse that crosses his path, or a basket of fruits under his eyes. Creativity has no limit for him. Inspiration is everywhere. Poetry is everywhere.
2020 Some things mysterious boys do, AFIKARIS Gallery, Paris, France
2021 1-54 London, London, United Kingdom
2020 Intersect Chicago Art Fair, Chicago, United States Un été sans fin, AFIKARIS Gallery, Paris, France Intersect Aspen Art Fair, Aspen, United States
2019 SXSW, Austin, United States
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 PARTICULARY 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.
WHILD BOLD COLORS ARE ONE 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.
WHAYOU 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.