<strong>James Barnor</strong>, <em>AGIP Calendar Model</em> (detail), 1974. <br>Digital C-type print, 48 x 48 cm.<strong>James Barnor</strong>, <em>AGIP Calendar Model</em> (detail), 1974. <br>Digital silver gelatin fibre based print, 70 x 70 cm.<strong>James Barnor</strong>, <em>Sunday, Outside Studio EX 23</em> (detail), 1975. <br>Digital silver gelatin fibre based print, 70 x 70 cm.


James Barnor.
Photo: © Jonathan Greet, 2016.
James Barnor, Two Sisters in-law, Florence and Gifty, 1973/74. Lambda print, 70 x 70 cm.
Edition of 10 plus 1 artist's proof.

James Barnor's (HonsFRPS) masterful career has spanned more than six decades of continual development, working as studio portraitist, photojournalist and Black lifestyle photographer-at-large. Since the 1950s, Barnor’s striking photographs have documented many of the major social and political changes occurring both in the UK (London) and Ghana (Accra).

James Barnor set up his first studio in Accra in 1953, a place frequented as much by the general public as local VIPs and dignitaries. He worked as the first photojournalist for the Daily Graphic before his career flourished with South Africa’s Drum magazine, the influential anti-apartheid lifestyle and politics journal. After moving to the UK, in 1959, Barnor studied photography at Medway College of Art, while continuing to work on commission for , in London, shooting models of all nationalities for its covers. He returned to Ghana in 1969, as a representative for Agfa-Gevaert, to pioneer colour photographic processing, before returning to London in the 80s, where he now lives and works.

Barnor’s wide-ranging portraits depict the self-assurance and individualistic fashion trends that thrived both in London and Accra over time. While international recognition arrived late, Barnor’s meticulous recording of a newly-Independent Ghana and London’s “swinging Sixties” is now recognised as an unparalleled, historic documentation of those times. His work has been exhibited internationally; between 2010 and 2016 his monumental touring exhibition Ever Young with Autograph ABP, featuring new prints made from original, digitally preserved negatives, as well as vintage photographs from the late 1940s to early 1970s, toured the UK and USA. October Gallery first showed his work together with the Italian photographer Daniele Tamagni, in 2016. In recognition of his outstanding contribution to the development of Ghana, he was awarded the Order of the Volta, by President John Mahama at the National Honours and Awards Ceremony of 2016. A retrospective of Barnor’s work opened at the new Nubuke Foundation, Accra, Ghana, in 2019. In 2020, he received an Honorary Fellowship from The Royal Photographic Society. A major touring retrospective of his work opened at The Serpentine Gallery, London, in 2021 which travelled to MASI Lugano, Switzerland, and will be shown at the Detroit Institute of Art, MI, USA in 2023. In 2022, the LUMA Foundation, Arles, presented Barnor’s first retrospective in France as part of Les Rencontres d’Arles’ annual Summer Photography Festival. The exhibition was inaugurated with the launch of the James Barnor Foundation, which advocates for the preservation of African cultures and focuses upon developing African cultural talent.

James Barnor’s work is in prestigious collections such as: MOMA, New York, USA; Victoria and Albert Museum, National Portrait Gallery, Tate, and the Government Art Collection, London, UK; and Musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac, Paris, France.

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View below for career highlights and works for sale by the artist.







Born in 1929, Accra, Ghana. Lives and works in London, UK.
Selected solo exhibitions
2022   James Barnor: Stories. Pictures From The Archives (1947–1987), LUMA, Les Recontres de la Photographie, Arles, France
James Barnor: Ever Young, Barakat Contemporary, Seoul, South Korea
2021   James Barnor: Accra/London – A Retrospective, The Serpentine, London, UK, touring to MASI Lugano, Switzerland (2022) and the Detroit Institute of Art, USA (2023)
James Barnor, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, Bristol, UK
2019   James Barnor: A Retrospective, Nubuke Foundation, Accra, Ghana
2018   La vie selon James Barnor, Gallery 1957 Kempinski Hotel, Accra, Ghana
2017   It’s great to be young, James Barnor et Marc Riboud, Galerie Clémentine de la Féronnière, Paris, France
Ever Young, Musée du quai Branly, vitrine jardin, Paris, France
La vie selon James Barnor, 11e biennale des Rencontres de Bamako, Bamako, Mali 
2016   James Barnor: Ever Young, Rebuild Foundation in partnership with Autograph ABP
2015   James Barnor: Ever Young, Autograph ABP, Paris, France
2013    James Barnor: Ever Young, Impressions Gallery, Bradford, UK
2011    James Barnor: Every Young, Rudenstein Gallery, W.E.B. Du Bois Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, USA
James Barnor: Ever Young, Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town, South Africa
2010   James Barnor, Parc Des Ateliers, Arles, France
Ever Young: James Barnor, Autograph ABP, Rivington Place, London, UK
2009   James Barnor: Ever Young, Autograph ABP, London, UK  
2007   Mr Barnor’s Independence Diaries, Black Cultural Archives, London, UK
Selected group exhibitions
2022   In the Light: Photographic works by James Barnor, Benji Reid, Alexis Peskine and Zana Masombuka, October Gallery, London, UK
2021   1-54 New York, online with October Gallery, London, UK
2020   Atmospheres; Artists of the Transvangarde, October Gallery, London, UK
2019   Dream No Small Dream: Celebrating 40 Years of the Transvangarde October Gallery, London, UK,
Paris Photo with Galerie Clémentine de la Féronnière, Paris, France
2018   This Synthetic Moment, David Nolan Gallery, New York, USA
2017   Investec Cape Town Art Fair, Cape Town, South Africa
1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair
, Somerset House, London, UK
National Portrait Gallery, London, UK
2016   1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, Somerset House, London, UK 
Daniele Tamagni and James Barnor, October Gallery, London, UK
Musée du quoi Branly, Paris, France
2015   Work, Rest and Play: British Photography from the 1960s to Today, The Photographers’ Gallery in partnership with OCT Loft, Shenzen and Misheng Art Museum, Shanghai, China
Swinging Sixties London – Photography in the Capital of Cool, Foam Fotografie museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands 
Staying Power: Photographs of Black British Experience 1950s – 1990s, Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK
2014   Look At Me!, Tropenmuseum, Amsterdam, Netherlands
2012   Ghana – A Heritage Ever Young, British Council and Silverbird Lounge, Accra Mall, Accra, Ghana
Synchronicity II, Tiwani Contemporary in partnership with Galerie Baudoin Lebon, Paris, France
Becoming: Photographs from the Wedge Collection, Nasher Museum, Duke University, North Carolina, USA
Another London: International Photographers Capture London Life 1930 – 1980, Tate Britain, London, UK
2011   Synchronicity I, Baudoin Lebon, Paris, France
2004    Acton Arts Forum, Acton Arts Festival, London, UK
Awards and Prizes
2020    Honorary Fellowship from The Royal Photographic Society. UK
2016    Order of the Volta (Ghana)
2011   GUBA (Ghana – UK Based Achievement) special “Lifetime Achievement” award
Bristol Museum, Bristol, UK
Centre Pompidou, Paris, France
Detroit Institute of Arts, Detroit, Michigan, USA
FOMU, Antwerp, Belgium
Government Art Collection, London, UK
LUMA Foundation, Arles, France / Zürich, Switzerland
MASI Lugano, Lugano, Switzerland
MOMA, New York, USA
Minneapolis Institute of Art, Minneapolis, MI, USA
Musée du quai Branly - Jacques Chirac, Paris, France
National Portrait Gallery, London, UK
Smart Museum of Art, University of Chicago, Illinois, USA
Tate, London, UK
Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK