James Barnor ‘Ever Young’: Review by Shaila Hamid

From Cover Girls to regular people, James Barnors archive, at Impressions Gallery, puts Barnor’s stamp on photography. Although Barnor is now a remarkable 84 years old the hype surrounding his work, career, and even him is not yet over. This is because he is actively involved in a number of events in society, busy winning awards and being credited for his work and the collection itself is drawing in new audiences daily.

Preview of the work

Preview of the work

In terms of the exhibition itself, the minute you walk into the room Mike Eghan at Picadilly Circus (London 1967) visually welcomes you with open arms to experience Barnor’s sixty years in photography. The collection takes you through Barnor’s role as a professional photographer for one of Africa’s leading magazines – DRUM. He worked for DRUM in both Ghana, covering political issues, and in London where he took a number of fashion related shots. Although the models are the focus in the photographs, the background is also interesting to look at. For example, in one photograph, taken in London, there are more pigeons than people in the background; this provides a snapshot view of how different London was in the sixties compared to today. Also, some of my favourite images are from when Barnor was a DRUM photographer. In particular, the photographs of DRUM cover girls Erlin Ibrek and Marie Hallowi seem so contemporary they look like they have been lifted straight from Harpers Bazaar.

Drum cover girl Marie Hallowi, Kent, 1966 © James Barnor/Autograph ABP James Barnor

Drum cover girl Marie Hallowi, Kent, 1966 © James Barnor/Autograph ABP
James Barnor

Drum cover girl Erlin Ibreck, London, 1966 © James Barnor/Autograph ABP James Barnor

Drum cover girl Erlin Ibreck, London, 1966 © James Barnor/Autograph ABP
James Barnor

However, it is not all fashion and fun as some of the pieces cover the time when Ghana was in a political uproar as they fought for independence. If you need to learn about the Ghana’s independence, and politics in Ghana then put the history books away as the exhibition provides a resourceful and personal insight to the situation. If, however, you want to develop this further there are a number of resources in the gallery for you to refer to.

A range of resources available

A range of resources available

You also get to view original documents verifying the authenticity of Barnor’s career. Such sources include the letter of acceptance to Medway College of Art, original photographs and even Barnor’s CV.

Tables displaying precious documents from James Barnor's career

Tables displaying precious documents from James Barnor’s career

So, whether you are into fashion, sports or politics, James Barnor’s exhibition features a stunning collection of work so do not miss this opportunity and visit Impressions Gallery today.

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