Aberrant Maia

Interview with Augustus Poku Sarkodee

Augustus Poku Sarkodee is a Ghanaian photographer, whose style is a blend of editorials, portraits, and product photography with a bit of conceptual photography as well. Furthermore, his photos tend to focus on an exploration of light and colour, although he shoots in monochrome as well. Want to check out his photos? Well, his photos are easily identifiable by the “G.Sarkodee” watermark on them. Be my guest as you read this interview and get to know the skilful man behind the lens. 

Augustus Poku-Sarkodee

Photo of Augustus

Ayeyi: Gustussss!!! I’m so glad we’re doing this interview. What’s up?

Augustus: I’m doing very well Ayeyi,  just working a little here and there. Hope you’re good too! (smiles)

Ayeyi: I’m also doing great. So, to start things off, could you tell us how you got involved in photography?

Augustus: (laughs) Right into it.

Ayeyi: (laughs sheepishly) Right into it.

Augustus: Okay, I’d say this journey started back in high school with an art class where we had to handle different artistic fields and were put into separate groups to try and interpret these concepts put to us. That’s where I got the opportunity to handle a camera for the first time. Shout-out to Mr. Akoi Jackson for that opportunity. Shortly after that, I used to edit random photos I saw online with a friend’s iPod and I guess everything just went uphill from there (laughs).

Ayeyi: Ouuu yes, shout-out to Mr. Jackson because now we get to see all these beautiful images you’ve captured since then.

Augustus: Oh yes, I’m ever grateful for that.

Ayeyi: So when you got this opportunity in art class, do you remember the first photo you took with the camera?

Augustus: Haha, first photo, wow. That would require some serious digging here. But I do remember back then when I had one of those sliding keyboard Nokia phones, I just used to go around trying to shoot between drying lines and capture the details of the holes in them. I found that rather intriguing. However, I would consider this photo as my first official photo. Shot this around 6:00am one day when my dad was going to work, and I recently uncovered it. It’s very messy but I must say this is the first photo I fell in love with.

Picture by Augustus Poku-Sarkodee

Augustus’ first official photo

Ayeyi: Ouu this is pretty dope for a first official photo. And the Rigid watermark in the photo! (smiles) For those who don’t know, all pictures of me on this site were taken by Augustus some years ago.

Augustus: Oh thank you, thank you (visibly pleased). Yes! I loved those shots (winks). We know why.

Ayeyi: (laughs shyly) Now, if someone was to go through your photos, a striking aspect is your play with colour. Why is colour important to you in photography?

Augustus: To me, colour is essentially an expression of what my mind is trying to convey through my work. The way I blend, mix and match colours to suit the purpose for which the image was shot or created is what brings me that sense of fulfillment. That doesn’t go to say that I can’t do without colour though. Some of my favourite works have been monochrome images and although colour is that important, sometimes the absence of it is what draws my viewers into the realm of the image, you know?

Ayeyi: Hmmm, so a balance is thus achieved. Interesting.

Augustus: Exactly.

Picture by Augustus Poku-Sarkodee

Photo taken by Augustus
Model: Fafali Quashigah

Ayeyi: Another uniqueness of your photos is your play with light. Between natural and artificial light, which do you prefer to work with?

Augustus: Frankly, I have two contrasting answers to this (laughs). I would say for portraits and pictures of people, I would go for natural light. Some may call this harsh lighting when direct, but studying light dynamics and knowing the best times to shoot, playing around with shadows. and things like that is amazing. On the other hand, though I’ve done all my product shots with natural lighting, artificial light is usually an industry go-to, because of how soft and touchy-feely you can make it. So you want your light to basically dance around your product at your own free will. Something that is not as easily achievable with natural light.

Picture by Augustus Poku-Sarkodee

La Nuit De L’Homme – YSL
Photo Credi: Augustus

Ayeyi: Since you prefer to shoot portraits and people in natural light, how do you go about finding good spots for outdoor location shoots?

Augustus: I love this question (laughs). Well, whilst finding a good location is very important, I feel most locations can be good with the right composition. That’s why I’m so big on letting people know that sometimes the barrier between your money shot and your current work is simply composition. Having your subject fill, be secluded, or at the right places within your frame, and how they interact with their surroundings is a major factor. But for finding the right location, my top three things to consider are: the colour dynamics, simplicity and (a)symmetry.

Ayeyi: Hmmm…Could you explain the (a)symmetry part a bit more?

Augustus: Well, I’d say it depends on the photos you’re going for but if you want a certain aspect of your photo balanced more to one side, as maybe that’s where you’re subject is, then having asymmetric backgrounds help. If you want your focus to be directly on your subject who might be in the middle of the frame, then it helps to have a symmetrical background to place the main clean focus on your subject.

Ayeyi: Ouuu, had no idea. I’m learning so much already.

Augustus: I’m glad you are (laughs).

Picture by Augustus Poku-Sarkodee

Photo taken by Augustus
Model: Emma Forson

Ayeyi: Augustus, when you are not taking photos, what are you most likely doing?

Augustus: Thinking about bread.

Ayeyi: (laughs) You and bread eh!

Augustus: (laughs) No, I mean I’m not lying though. But on a more serious note, you’d catch me on occasion playing games with my friends. I’m still a student as well so sometimes, I’m learning things that I’d apply in my classes like 3D design. I also dedicate time each month to watch and properly consume music videos. I truly appreciate the stories and visuals that they provide and they give me true contentment. I love sunsets too, so you know, music and watching sunsets with a sweetwun. Love that.

Ayeyi: Eish, with a sweetwun…Okayyy (makes gooey eyes). Before we conclude this interview, could you tell us what we should expect from Augustus in the future?

Augustus: Well, I’m sharing what I consider a piece of me very soon, so eyes out for that. Also, a few I’m not at obligation to speak on now. The only way is up for me. 

Ayeyi: Keeping our eyes open for sure.

Picture by Augustus Poku-Sarkodee

Photo taken by Augustus
Model: Khanitat Sheriff

Ayeyi: And for all those interested, what social media handles should we use to find you?

Augustus: Okay, you can interact with me on: Twitter: @gustus_ ; Instagram: @G.sarkodee; Behance: Gus Sarkodee

Ayeyi: Augustus, thank you so much for conversing with me. I thoroughly enjoyed it and have gained more insight into the world of photography. And as you accurately said, the only way is up for you.

Augustus: Thank you Ayeyi for this opportunity to speak on my work and I hope the same goes for you as well.

Augustus Poku-Sarkodee

Photo of Augustus

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