The works of Ghanian creative photographer, Obinini Kobby, are filled with bright and vibrant colours. He has built a strong portfolio of street photographs that capture the dynamics of Ghanian culture and practice, cutting through various sections of the country’s demographic and panning in on very relatable scenes. In this chat with The Moveee, he shares about his work and creative process: the challenges, the inspiration, and the dreams.
Your Instagram account simply states, “For the Culture,” could you reflect on how significant culture has been to your creative career?
Our culture has had an important influence on my arts, you can walk to anyone you see around and they will welcome you with smiles, that’s our culture, also our continent isn’t well developed but you can find the artistic feel, inspirations and locations everywhere.
How powerful would you say that Black people are? And what is the role of the Black creative in amplifying this power?
I am not being a racist here but even white people see us Blacks as superhumans, from the way we talk to our body and especially our skin.
To my understanding, the role of every Black creative is to join forces and help change the narratives about Black people and Africa.
What is the most significant message underlying you work and what emotions do you want your work to evoke?
Every Black person should be proud of who they are, and should not limit themselves just because they are black. The only place you can call home is Africa!
When and how did your journey as a photographer and artist begin, what is the inspiration and what has the journey been like?
I feel my photography journey depicts my transformation from being an introvert and feeling lost to gaining self-awareness and discovering myself. Working almost every day to change the narratives about Black people.
What are some of the challenges you face as a creative and how are you able to navigate these challenges?
It is very difficult to start up because unlike in developed countries where you get funding and sometimes sponsors, it does not work like that in Ghana. starting up I did not have the funds to purchase all the equipment I needed, but I started with the little I had.
What are the three most important lessons you’ve learned as a Black creative?
You should not wait to be motivated before you start anything, you have to be consistent in anything you do, and start with the little you have.
What are some of your favourite works and why?
I’ll say the Grinding Shadows collection because it tells you how hardworking Blacks are, as the saying goes “there’s beauty in the struggle” it’s quite unfortunate our systems are not set upright. I have the belief that we will be on the right track in some time to come. Also, I love the work I have done with kids, they are full of genuine love and positive energy.
As a creative photographer, what are some of the things that keep you inspired and flowing with new ideas?
Most of my inspirations come naturally, also I am inspired by everything around me like I said earlier you will get ideas and inspirations everywhere, and I always feed my eyes with creative stuff, like the people I follow on social media, I am always on the move in search for new ideas.
Who are your inspirations as a creative?
I will say Nature, Joshua Kissi, Aboya, Prince Gyasi and a few others due to their unique approach to photography and art.
Could you talk about the Grinding Shadows collection? When did you get the inspiration, and how and what is the underlying message behind this work?
You always see market women, hawkers, and even old women working very hard in order to make ends meet. This tells you how hardworking blacks are, so I started taking random pictures of people working, which I later decided to make them unique by adding colours and shadows to them.