The Roadmaker is a retrospective book on the work of photographer James Barnor.
James Barnor (born 1929) was Ghana’s first international press photographer. He came from a family of photographers and established his studio in Accra, Ever Young in 1950. He worked in this studio at the time of Ghana’s independence, also selling his photos to the Daily Graphic and Drum magazines. He arrived in Britain in 1959 and, while working in a factory, attended evening photography classes at the London College of Printmaking and classes with the Colour Processing Laboratory in Kent. He went on to study at Medway College of Arts, where he got a job as a technician, finally returning to Accra in 1969, where he founded X23, the city’s first colour photography studio. He returned to London in the 1990s.
In 2009, the 80-year-old photographer revealed his archive to two London curators. His archive is a remarkable document of post-war modernity that includes photographs from Ghana’s independence era, scenes from multicultural London and later images that record a strong post-colonial identity in Ghana. The metaphor of the road in the book’s title suggests the continuity between past and present, tradition and progress, and the links between generations and peoples of different content present in Barnor’s work.