Aperture 252 - Fall 2023


Guest edited by Lyle Ashton Harris and Nii Obodai, “Accra” considers the Ghanaian capital’s dynamic photographic voices.

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Issue Details

This fall, following acclaimed issues centered on Delhi, Mexico City, Los Angeles, Tokyo, and São Paulo, Aperture magazine presents “Accra,” an edition that considers the Ghanaian capital as a site of dynamic photographic voices and histories that connect visual culture in West Africa to the world. “Accra” is guest edited by the New York–based artist Lyle Ashton Harris and the Accra-based photographer and educator Nii Obodai.

“This issue lays bare the current complexities around representation, not only through photography but also film, architecture, and spaces for gathering,” says Harris, who lived in Accra and taught at New York University’s Ghana campus for seven years. “What does it mean to bring a multiplicity of identities into one sphere? In what ways do conflicting ideas rub up against each other?”

Ghana has been a site of compelling photography since the late nineteenth century, from the output of the hundred-year-old Deo Gratias photo studio to the stylish midcentury visions of James Barnor. Aperture Issue #252 “Accra” features exclusive interviews with Zohra Opoku, whose textile-based works evoke mortality and resilience, and John Akomfrah, the celebrated filmmaker who throughout his career has dramatized ideas about heritage and belonging between Ghana and the UK, and who will represent Britain in the 2024 Venice Biennale. Photographs by the cover artist Carlos Idun-Tawiah, whose work is featured in a portfolio, will be presented by Aperture at the Armory Show in New York, September 7–10.

“Photography is a potent medium for situating history,” says Obodai. “Accra” looks both to the archives that catalog Ghana’s past—and the country’s central role in Pan-African thought and political activism—and to the visions of a new generation.

Format: Paperback / softback
Publication date: 2023-09-05
Measurements: 9.25 x 12 inches
ISBN: 9781597115490

Support has been provided by members of Aperture’s Magazine Council: Jon Stryker and Slobodan Randjelović, Susan and Thomas Dunn, Kate Cordsen and Denis O’Leary, and Michael W. Sonnenfeldt, MUUS Collection.

Table Of Contents


Alfredo Boulton, A Window Suddenly Opens, María Magdalena Campos-Pons, Immersion

Elizabeth A. Kessler on how the James Webb Space Telescope envisions the cosmos

Kim Bell on the afterlife of a nineteenth-century assassin

Tin Htet Paing on the artists working under Myanmar’s oppressive military regime

Mimi Plumb on the Clash, Larry Sultan, and the Mission District in San Francisco


Ghana Becomes You
Zohra Opoku’s evocative reflections on mortality and resilience
A Conversation with Ekow Eshun

Image Bank
The archives illuminating a nation’s past
Kobby Ankomah Graham

Ghana Obscura
For artists and writers, the return to a land where history was made
Anakwa Dwamena

The Correspondent
How Gerald Annan-Forson documented Ghana’s postindependence transformations
Jesse Weaver Shipley

Why We Went Out
The elusive spaces for queer expression
Chiké Frankie Edozien

A Library for the Future
How Paul Ninson built a center for photobooks
Ama Benewaa Tawiah

The Door of Memory
John Akomfrah on telling stories about migration and belonging
A Conversation with Vanessa Peterson and Lyle Ashton Harris


The Society
A portrait of Accra’s leadership by Lyle Ashton Harris
Senam Okudzeto

Postbox Ghana
Rediscovering architectural heritage through picture postcards
Kuukuwa O. Manful

Sunday Special
Carlos Idun-Tawiah’s retro-inspired views of youth and style
Nana Oforiatta Ayim

Early Risers
For Kay Kwabia, the poetry of everyday scenes
Lovia Gyarkye

Beauty Lives in Nima
Fibi Afloe highlights the graceful fashion in one Accra neighborhood
Amy Sall

Makola’s Market Queens
Misper Apawu’s portraits of traders and sellers
Nana Ama Agyemang Asante

Double Double
Lloyd Foster’s kinetic photo-sculptures
Nicole Acheampong


The PhotoBook Review
A conversation with the publisher Stanley/Barker, Salamishah Tillet on the history of Black studio photographers—and a selection of recent photobooks

Six questions for Kwame Anthony Appiah

Other Issues