Nana Ofori-Atta Asomani is a photographer whose style can best be described as conceptual, abstract, with a bit of portraiture and surrealism. His work has been featured in VSCO series with his most recent feature in the #melanin series as as an open call to celebrate black lives. He is also the brain behind the visualizer videos for musicians such as Nii Amu, Questo and Patience. The interesting twist to his work is that all his photos are captured through his iPhone! This interview provides us an opportunity to have a sneak peak into the mind of Asomani.
Photo of Asomani
Ayeyi: Hey Asomani. What’s up?
Asomani: I’m alright oh. Well, global and personal issues are making me think a lot but that is also a learning process. What about you?
Ayeyi: I’m also good. Also overwhelmed with many issues at hand.
Asomani: I know right!
Ayeyi: Let’s jump right into the interview (smiles). For those who may not know you, how would you describe Asomani?
Asomani: Ok, well…My name is Nana Ofori-Atta Asomani. I am an individual who lives in his own world but once a while his world either conflicts or aligns with the outside world.
Ayeyi: Eishhh…Interesting. So, a unique aspect about your photography is that your photos are captured via an iPhone. What influenced this decision?
Asomani: Ok, so this will be a brief history lesson. When I was about 11, my mum had this smartphone which was an HTC Sensation XL. I didn’t have a camera at the time (still don’t have one), but I was interested in photography. So, I started “borrowing” it to take pictures of myself and the environment. My mum noticed this interest and some years down the line, she purchased a small digital camera for me being first in class. I used the camera for some years and then, I broke it. So, in high school, I joined a group of friends who were into creative stuff but I wasn’t shooting then. It was a learning process for me. So when I came to Ashesi, I decided to take pictures again, this time with my phone (iPhone 6). I wasn’t really serious about it but then my friends encouraged me to continue. So, in 2018 when I got a new phone (iPhone X), I decided to go all out and this is where we are right now.
Ayeyi: Wow, that is progress right there!
Asomani: Yes oh.
Photo by: Asomani
Ayeyi: How would you describe the kind of photography you do?
Asomani: So my style of photography is conceptual, abstract, a little bit of portraiture and to some extent surrealism. But I don’t limit myself honestly. If I find something interesting, I will try it.
Ayeyi: Can you walk us through the general process you undergo to shoot a photo?
Asomani: Ok, well it varies. If I am capturing inanimate objects, I mostly get inspiration when I am walking around in my immediate environment. But when it’s people, I have an idea of how I want the shoot to go and I go in open-minded. The real magic happens after the shoot. When I am editing, I look for inspiration online, in music, and in myself. I want my pictures to stand out and not be normal so I go all in with the edits until I find something I can relate with and that also stands out.
Photo by: Asomani
Model: Maame Yaa
Ayeyi: And so far, what has been the most memorable photo you have taken and why?
Asomani: This image right here (image below). I was walking up in the library with my roommate (in Ashesi) when I noticed that one of the seminar’s room walls is translucent. Immediately, I got this idea to do a silhouette shoot and told my roommate to get into the seminar room to be the model. After I shot it, I sat back and edited it and boom!
Ayeyi: I love the picture! It’s really dope.
Asomani's most memorable photo
Ayeyi: What challenges have you experienced as a photographer?
Asomani: So…Well I use a phone, so that’s the first challenge. People don’t usually appreciate the fact that I use a phone to take pictures and I I have even gotten criticized for using a phone. I have heard comments such as “I also have the same phone so what is special about yours?” and “A phone won’t give a high quality.” Secondly, people don’t appreciate my style of photography because it is not the conventional type of photography and people find it difficult to understand and appreciate.
Ayeyi: Hmmm…Well, your photos sure do prove them wrong. Your pictures are high quality and amazing.
Asomani: Thank you!
Ayeyi: (laughs) So, whenever it’s about to rain and I see dark clouds in the sky, I know that Asomani is about to post photos of dark clouds. What led to your fascination of capturing dark clouds?
Asomani: (laughs) Personally, I am a reserved person, so I think a lot and my mind is dark. (laughs) I also view the world as a dark place with evil people so the dark clouds and edits represent that.
Ayeyi: Ouuu….I would have never guessed
Asomani: Well no one would (laughs)
Photo of dark clouds captured by Asomani
Ayeyi: Currently, there are many societal ills and our generation is quite vocal on enacting change. Take for instance the Black Lives Matter movement in America which is helping dismantle systemic racism and police brutality. As a photographer, what role do you think creators play in contributing to change?
Asomani: My role as a photographer and every other photographer is to capture these moments as much as possible. If you watch news or even on social media, it is the images captured by photographers and even ordinary people that have really fueled the Black Lives Matter movement to push on. Capturing essential moments in history and capturing pictures that serve as a representation for the minority in the society will help change the narrative. I hope it makes sense.
Ayeyi: Definitely makes sense. What are some future goals you have set for yourself?
Asomani: I want to get a camera (not certain though). I also want to go into the field of videography and music video direction. I want to apply my photography style in these fields. I want to work more in the space of music and the entertainment industry. But like I said, if I find something interesting, I will try it.
Ayeyi: I’m certain you would achieve all of this and more. Let’s talk about social media. How important has social media been to you in terms of promoting your work and finding opportunities?
Asomani: I have social media to thank for everyone who knows my work aside my immediate family. Social media has made me who I am today. I have been on social media for roughly twelve years and I must say, it has helped my growth as a photographer and a creative immensely.
Photo by Asomani
Ayeyi: And on that note, what are your social media handles and what platforms can we find your work on?
Behance: Nana Asomani (I think)
Ayeyi: Thank you so much for having this interview with me. I can see that your art would take you places and I can’t wait to see how that plays out.
Asomani: Thank you so much for your time and keep doing what you are doing! Stay safe and positive
Photo of Asomani