Nana Yaw Oduro: Artists Inside The Industry

Nana Yaw Oduro: Artists Inside The Industry
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Nana Yaw Oduro, a talented photographer from Ghana, began his journey into photography in 2015. Since then, he has successfully showcased his work in collective and individual exhibitions in Ghana, China, and the US, including at renowned events like SXSW and LA Artwalk. Oduro’s passion for storytelling is evident in his work.

He previously expressed his stories through writing, but after discovering photography, he found it to be a more exciting and diverse way to share his narrative. Oduro’s photography style is unique and abstract, characterized by a bold and contemporary aesthetic. He draws inspiration from his feelings and environment, which is reflected in his work.

I am passionate about telling stories, which I used to do a lot through writing. But then I found photography a more exciting and diverse way.

Nana Yaw Oduro

This is evident in pieces like ‘You’re my balance, friend.’ The image is an evocative tableau steeped in the serene ambience of twilight. It captures a moment that seems suspended in time, where two figures are poetically silhouetted against the muted sandy shore. The absence of the horizon focuses all attention on the balletic grace of the subjects’ forms.

Clothed in the simplicity of white tank tops, they are juxtaposed companions; each bent forward in a deliberate arc, a study of symmetry and tension. The light, with its golden hue, washes over the scene, carving shadows and illuminating the grains of sand that cling to their skin. It is as if the last whispers of the sun are playing over the landscape of their bodies, transforming the ordinary into something ethereal. This moment, frozen by the camera’s eye, speaks of stillness, of a contemplative communion with the earth, as if these two souls have found a silent language shared only with the sand beneath their fingertips.

Oduro’s photography is visually stunning and thought-provoking, capturing moments that convey more profound meanings to bring issues often overlooked to light. As he describes it, Oduro’s work is ‘refreshing and real.’ In this interview, we get to know the man behind the camera, exploring his inspiration and more.

Nana Yaw Oduro: Artists Inside The Industry
Coal on Clay (Boyhood)
© Nana Yaw Oduro
Q: First things first, why do you do what you do?

Nana Yaw Oduro: Photography gives me a conscious sense of self and awareness. It also makes my life worthwhile. I’m passionate about it, and Glad I can tell my stories and feelings with this.

Q: What is your inspiration?

Nana Yaw Oduro: Mainly I’m inspired by my emotions and reading poems.

Q: What is your creative process when you’re shooting?

Nana Yaw Oduro: I wish I could shoot myself. But since that is somewhat impossible for what I would want, I get someone to be the subject. And direct them how I have it in mind. It is usually intimate because I don’t often shoot a crowd. One on One. Just me and my muse.

Q: How would you describe your photography style?

Nana Yaw Oduro: Bold contemporary, because it has to do with bold colors too.

Q: What type of cameras do you use?

Nana Yaw Oduro: Canon

Nana Yaw Oduro: Artists Inside The Industry
Cultural wealth “severe art”
© Nana Yaw Oduro
Q: Which is your favourite lens? Why?

Nana Yaw Oduro: 50mm. It is quite simple and captures my work perfectly to my ideas. I love it

Q: What would you say is an integral part to the work of a Photographer?

Nana Yaw Oduro: I would say, having a good range of ideas and a clear mind to focus

Nana Yaw Oduro: Artists Inside The Industry
© Nana Yaw Oduro
Q: What is the reason behind your photography?

Nana Yaw Oduro: I am passionate about telling stories, which I used to do a lot through writing. But then I found photography a more exciting and diverse way. Since it has the potential to at least visualize what I’d instead write about, cuts the boredom writing sometime breeds.

Q: What is your favourite subject to photograph?

Nana Yaw Oduro: Humans

Nana Yaw Oduro: Artists Inside The Industry
Q: What does photography mean to you?

Nana Yaw Oduro: Photography means visualized storytelling. It means everything to me.

Q: What are your favorite captures from your collection?

Nana Yaw Oduro: I have a couple of series. I really like more. SEANCE, FRUITS ARE FOR BOYS, LOST IN THE PLAYGROUND are a few of them.

Nana Yaw Oduro: Artists Inside The Industry
Untitle #1 (from Fruits are for boys)
Q: What is the most rewarding part of being a photographer for you?

Nana Yaw Oduro: That, I think, is the execution of your idea. Sometimes it is a challenge to be able to create what you had in mind with a tool in hand. It is magic — definitely the most rewarding.

Q: Is there anything that worries you about how social media is affecting the promotion of photographers?

Nana Yaw Oduro: It is quite disturbing for emerging artists not to reach the maximum accounts. That’s an issue universally. Would be perfect if works could reach all the followers an artist has.

You’re my balance, friend.
Q: In your opinion, do you have any advice for photographers on how to manage their social media image? Or does it even need managing?

Nana Yaw Oduro: Social media is quite a big part of art promotion now. So YES! It needs managing. I think growing the habit of taking some hours off your day to pay attention to your socials would do artists a lot of good than bad. It is worth it. If not possible, the artist could employ somebody else for that. These days, there are social media managers.

Q: Do you have any advice for photographers starting and don’t know where to begin?

Nana Yaw Oduro: In the beginning, everything is always tricky. Especially with directions, I’d advise they go in and use whatever tool they possess, camera, or phone. Just capture that thing you want to. And if you don’t stop, you get better, and that’s close to everything they want.

Nana Yaw Oduro: Artists Inside The Industry
The kids that never leave
Q: What would you say is the best way of getting your photography noticed in the age of the internet?

Nana Yaw Oduro: Once again, it is the work of social media. Just make enough time out of the week for it. To post and interact with others. People will discover you and spread the word. It does take a lot of effort, but it is worth it. Websites are also of enormous influence.

Q: Are there any places where you feel Photography and Technology really shouldn’t overlap?

Nana Yaw Oduro: I don’t think so! Everything needs to be seen and exposed! We still haven’t seen nor experienced everything yet. So maybe until then, but for now, we keep capturing and showing.

©2019 Nana Yaw Oduro

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