Nana Yaw Oduro is a Ghanaian photographer born in 1994 and based in Accra. He graduated from the University of Ghana business class in May 2017 and started photographing in 2015. His photographs share his feelings and bring to life his imaginary worlds, between endless beaches and desert plains. If Cindy Sherman or Amalia Ulman use self-portraiture in a role that is not theirs to criticize or denounce, Nana Yaw Oduro rather rotates her photos to reflect an image of himself and his sensitivity, through the models she stages. The stories that emerge through his lens are inspired by his story. The photographer explores subjects that echo his personal life through masculinity, childhood, feelings and selfacceptance. His photographs provide fictional self-portraits in which his models are as actors, playing a biographical role. In this way, he is the director of his own emotions during the realization of a photo shoot. Nana Yaw Oduro has already had a number of group and solo exhibitions in Ghana, China and the United States (SXSW and LA artwalk).More
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.