We Are Family

20 pages | May, 2016

(from the booklet) ‘A couple of years ago Nii Obodai prevented a collection of about one hundred and eighty 6×6 slides from being discarded by the National Film and Television Institute in Accra. Recently the slides were scanned by me and since then I have been thinking about them, attempting to structure them and place them in a global photography context. This selection shows all the black and white images in the two wooden boxes.’

The collection of photographs fits in its time, that I now estimate as the second half of the 1950s. It is the time after the pure formalistic photography, a time in which there was still or maybe again room for a pictorialism, a time when Henry Cartier Bresson‘s ‘decisive moment’ struck with full force, and in which the optimism ventilated by Edward Steichen’s ‘Family of Men’ was traveling the world. These photographs present other families of men, with the goal to sell cameras, since the boxes were put together by Franke and Heidecke, the firm that produced the Rollei and Rolleiflex cameras.

I had the pleasure to be one of the facilitators of the Nuku Studio workshop 2016 in Accra. The five week program, initiated by Nii Obodai, was set up as a learning community, in which people with different levels of experience meet and exchange around the medium photography, with a focus on storytelling, authorship, and exposure. Each participant and several of the facilitators produced a booklet that is, at least for now, limited to an edition of only 1. Each booklet, based on a templet proposed by me, is a work in progress, but also has qualities of its own. The booklets were first presented to an audience present on May 10th at Nubuke Foundation in Accra.