James Barnor
Ever Young

5 July - 31 August, 2013

Impressions Gallery

Bradford, UK


Past exhibition

James Barnor's archive of street and studio portraiture covers a remarkable period in history, bridging continents and photographic genres as it creates a transatlantic narrative marked by his passionate interest in people and cultures.

After Harvard University in Boston, the National Gallery in Cape Town and Rivington Place in London, Ever Young: James Barnor is touring to Impressions Gallery in Bradford. Barnor documents societies in transition: Ghana moving towardsits independence, and London becoming a multicultural metropolis during the ‘swinging 60s’. His extensive portfolio of street and studio portraiture spans over 60 years and different continents, many commissioned by Drum magazine, Africa’s first Black politics and lifestyle publication.

In the early 1950s, Barnor’s photographic studio Ever Young was visited by civil servants and dignitaries, performance artists and newly-weds. During this period, he captured intimate moments of luminaries such as Kwame Nkrumah as he pushed for pan-African unity, and commonwealth boxing champion Roy Ankrah. In 1960s London, he photographed Mohammad Ali preparing for a fight at London’s Earl’s Court and BBC Africa Service reporter Mike Eghan at Piccadilly Circus.

This exhibition emerges as a direct result of archival research supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2009-10, and features new prints made from Barnor’s original, digitally preserved negatives, as well as vintage photographs from the late 1940s to early 1970s. An expanded display of original ephemera including magazine clippings, record covers, personal photographs and letters has been specially selected for Impressions Gallery.

Acclaim for Ever Young

Through the research process and retrieval and reassembly, Autograph ABP have unified Barnor's disparate images into a holistic body of work for the first time, and we now have the kind of homecoming in which previously orphaned images are given a second life.

Kobena Mercer

The Ghanain photographer James Barnor is presented in a charming exhibition which shows what well-directed public funding can do.

Francis Hodgson, Financial Times

Absolutely loved the James Barnor exhibition at the Impressions Gallery

Catriona Simons, exhibition visitor

It promised to be good but the James Barnor at Impressions Gallery surpassed my expectations

Shaun Connell, exhibition visitor

La galería Impressions...hace justicia al veterano autor africano con Ever Young, una retrospectiva de las fotos de estudio y de calle que Barnor hizo en Ghana y en Londres

Helena Celdrán, 20minutos

The colours pop, London shines, and the models are so much more than that: they’re women at the forefront of social change, breaking down racial barriers in a city that’s still finding its feet in a modern world

Isobel Jokl, Dig Yorkshire

a testament to the role of dress in identities

Jenna Rossi-Camus, Worn Through: Apparel through an Academic Perspective blog

very impressed with the striking photographs on display

Sofia Maskin, Bradford Museums and Galleries

[The] strength of these portraits lies in the physical context of the subjects. Where images taken of indigenous African people by colonial photographers tended to stress a false sense of the exotic and hence otherness in the physical context, Barnor presents an accurate backdrop, often within a domestic setting. Members of an aspirational working class brim with the optimism and confidence that the viewer is encouraged to associate with the advent of independence.

Daniel Potts, Aesthetica Magazine

In partnership with

Impressions Gallery

Impressions Gallery is an independent, not-for-profit space for contemporary photography.


Curated by

Renée Mussai

Renée Mussai manages Autograph ABP’s Archive and Research Centre. She has a special interest in feminist and post-colonial politics of portraiture, gender and sexuality in Africa and the African diaspora.


James Barnor
Artist Talk

10 August 2013, 2pm

Impressions Gallery, Bradford

Read more »

Summer Party with James Barnor

10 August 2013, 3pm

Impressions Gallery, Bradford

Read more »

An Autograph ABP Touring Exhibition

A touring exhibition from Autograph ABP curated by Renée Mussai. First shown at Rivington Place, London (2010) and more recently at the South African National Gallery, Cape Town (2011).

Supported by Heritage Lottery Fund.

Press contact

For further information, images and interviews, please contact Lois Olmstead at Autograph ABP - phone 020 7720 9200 or email lois@autograph-abp.co.uk

Additional Info

Venue Details
Impressions Gallery
Centenary Square
Bradford, BD1 1SD

0845 051 5882

Monday: Closed
Tuesday: 11am - 6pm
Wednesday: 11am - 6pm
Thursday: 11am - 8pm
Friday: 11am - 6pm
Saturday: 12pm - 5pm
Sunday: Closed

Impressions Gallery is fully accessible

  • Exhibition installation at Impressions Gallery
  • Exhibition installation at Impressions Gallery
  • James Barnor photograph on the cover of Drum magazine, 1967
  • James Barnor, Selina Opong, Policewoman #10, Ever Young Studio, Accra