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(12/12) “One morning I went to photograph a protest in Queens....

(12/12) “One morning I went to photograph a protest in Queens. It was a political protest of some sort, and it was an angry crowd. I think many of the attendees were anti-immigrant. One man got right in my face, waved his poster, and started chanting: ‘Go Home, Go Home.’ In that moment it became clear to me: I do have a home. This is not my home, but...

(11/12) “My thoughts grew very dark. It felt like I was wearing...

(11/12) “My thoughts grew very dark. It felt like I was wearing new clothes, and I wanted to remove the clothes. But how could I remove my skin? And if I did, what would be left? I tried to push my feelings aside. I tried to switch off my emotions. But this time it wasn’t working. I even stopped riding the subway because I didn’t want to stand near...

(10/12) “Growing up in Ghana, I’d never once had to think about...

(10/12) “Growing up in Ghana, I’d never once had to think about my skin color. I saw myself as African. I saw myself as Ghanaian. I saw myself as Asante. But never black. Because all of us were black. And to become sensitive to your skin, for the first time, at the age of thirty, it messed me up. One morning I was greeting my fellow students in the...

(9/12) “Every day after class I went to the main branch of the...

(9/12) “Every day after class I went to the main branch of the New York Public Library. It was my favorite place in the city. I couldn’t believe how big it was. This place had every book in the world. In Ghana I hadn’t been able to find a single photography book, but here there were entire books with nothing but photos from Ghana. When I was learning...

(8/12) “When I landed in New York I was full of joy. I spent the...

(8/12) “When I landed in New York I was full of joy. I spent the first few days exploring the city. I saw places that I’d only seen in photographs: Times Square, Central Park, The Empire State Building. During orientation I met other students from all over the world. There were so many subjects to choose from, and I signed up for the maximum number...

(7/12) “My father is not an emotional man. But when I gave him...

(7/12) “My father is not an emotional man. But when I gave him the news, I could see the pride in his face. He was proud of the scholarship. Proud of everything I’d overcome. I was proud too. Oh boy, the things I was thinking! I felt like an important person. I was going to America to study at a famous school. ‘When I come back to Ghana,’ I thought....

(6/12) “It was time for me to face the truth: there wasn’t...

(6/12) “It was time for me to face the truth: there wasn’t a path for this kind of thing in Ghana. Photojournalism was not a way to feed my daughter. I stopped looking for stories to tell. I went back to weddings and events, and took any job I was offered. Later that year I was hired to photograph a program at the University of Ghana. The work was barely...

(5/12) “I’d been rejected at the gate because I didn’t have a...

(5/12) “I’d been rejected at the gate because I didn’t have a ‘body of work,’ so after that day those words became very important to me. I spent all my time in the internet café, researching stories that belonged in a ‘body of work.’ I discovered a blog post about a community of women in Kenya, who had built a village to escape their abusive husbands....

(4/12) “The online tutorials made photojournalism sound easy:...

(4/12) “The online tutorials made photojournalism sound easy: ‘Quit your job, find the best story, get published.’ But this advice was for Westerners. Nobody quits their job in Ghana. And even if you did, there’s no place to publish your photos. I’d see pictures from Africa, and stories from Africa. But everything was done by foreign journalists. I...

(3/12) “I sold all my possessions. I even let go of my...

(3/12) “I sold all my possessions. I even let go of my apartment. But still it was not enough for a camera. So I turned to my mother for help. She sold second-hand clothes for a living. She knew nothing about photography. But when I told her a camera would help me be a father, she trusted me. She took out a loan and we purchased a budget model. It wasn’t...

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