james barnor.


Born in Ghana in 1929, James Barnor opened his renowned Ever Young studio in Accra, where he immortalized a nation at the moment of its independence. He was one of the first photojournalists to collaborate with The Daily Graphic, a newspaper published in Ghana by London’s Daily Mirror Group.

In 1959, two years after Ghana’s independence, Barnor moved to London to deepen his technical knowledge of the medium. He discovered colour photography at the Medway College of Art and his pictures were published on the front page of Drum, an important magazine founded in South Africa in 1951 and symbol of the anti-apartheid movement. He eloquently captured the spirit of Swinging London and the experiences of the African diaspora in the British capital.

In the late 1960s, he was recruited by Agfa-Gevaert and returned to Ghana to set up the country’s first colour laboratory. He stayed there for the next twenty years, working in his new Studio X23 as a freelance photographer and for state agencies in Accra.

Today, Barnor lives in the United Kingdom and devotes most of his time to his work, in a spirit of transmission. Barnor’s work has in recent years inspired a new generation of artists and given rise to numerous exhibitions and publications, including an important retrospective, James Barnor: Accra/London. This touring exhibition, curated by Hans Ulrich-Obrist, Lizzie Carey-Thomas and Awa Konaté, was presented at the Serpentine North Gallery in 2021. It is currently on view at MASI Lugano (CH), and is set to travel to the Detroit Institute of Arts (USA) in 2023. A new exhibition, James Barnor, Stories: Pictures from the Archives (1947-1987), opened at LUMA Arles in July 2022 as part of the international photography festival Les Rencontres d’Arles.




James Barnor, Stories: Pictures from the Archives (1947-1987), LUMA Arles, France

James Barnor, Ever Young, Barakat Contemporary, Seoul, South Korea

James Barnor, Accra/London - A Retrospective, Lugano, Switzerland


James Barnor, Accra/London - A Retrospective,Serpentine Gallery, London, UK (19 May–24 October 2021) - MASI Lugano, Switzerland (13 March–19 June 2022) ; DIA, Detroit, USA (28 May–1 October 2023) - touring exhibition

The Roadmaker, Galerie Clémentine de la Féronnière, Paris, France

James Barnor, Ghanaian Modernist, Bristol Photo Festival, City Museum, St. Louis, MO, USA

James Barnor, Bristol Photo Festival, City Museum of Bristol, UK


La Vie selon James Barnor, Musée de la Photographie de Saint-Louis, Senegal; Galerie 1957, Accra, Ghana; IF Johannesburg, South Africa; AF Lusaka, Zambia; CCF Windhoek, Namibie - AF Gaborone, Botswana; AF Durban; AF Port-Elizabeth; AF Potchefstroom - La Vie selon James Barnor touring exhibition


James Barnor, A retrospective, Nubuke Foundation, Accra, Ghana

Colors, Galerie Clémentine de la Féronnière, Paris, France


La Vie selon James Barnor/Life according to James Barnor, 11e biennale des Rencontres de Bamako, Bamako, Mali


Qirv Presents… A Heritage Ever Young, Accra, Ghana, 30th June 2012 - 2nd July 2012. Curated by James Barnor and Myx Quest. Launched at British Council followed by public exhibition at Silverbird Lounge, Accra Mall.


Ever Young, Casa Africa, Canary Islands (2020); BAND Gallery, Toronto, Canada (2016); Galerie Clémentine de la Féronnière, Paris, France (2015); Impressions Gallery, York, UK (2013); South African National Gallery, Capetown, South Africa (2012); Autograph ABP Rivington Place, London, UK (2010); W.E.B. Du Bois Institute, Harvard University, Boston, MA USA (2010) - Ever Young touring exhibition


Mr Barnor’s Independence Diaries, Black Cultural Archives, London, UK


Acton Arts Forum, London, UK



MASI, Lugano, CH

LUMA Foundation, Arles, FR/Zürich, CH


MoMA, New York, USA

Centre Pompidou, Paris, France

Smart Art Museum, University of Chicago, USA

Victoria and Albert Museum, London (and 2015), UK


Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, USA


National Portrait Gallery, London, UK


Musée du quai Branly, Paris, France


Tate Modern, London, UK



James Barnor, Stories. Pictures from the archive (1947-1987), LUMA Arles exhibition catalog - https://www.maisoncf.fr/produit/james-barnor-stories/


James Barnor, Accra/London - A Retrospective, Koenig Book/Serpentine - https://www.maisoncf.fr/produit/james-barnor-serpentine-exhibition-catalog/


James Barnor, The Roadmaker, ed. Maison CF (Paris) - https://www.maisoncf.fr/produit/james-barnor-the-roadmaker/


James Barnor, Ever Young, ed. Clémentine de la Féronnière/Autograph ABP https://www.maisoncf.fr/produit/ever-young-2/