Historical past is one in every of her passions, and is commonly the rationale behind her alternative of journey vacation spot: In Ghana, photographer Andrea Torrei was shocked and overwhelmed by the unknown, and on the identical time learnt a lot in regards to the magnificence and power of the ladies and youngsters. Her emotional and vibrant collection speaks a few nation the place life is just not straightforward – however the place individuals can nonetheless dream.
What was your impulse for the collection?
Once I journey to a brand new nation, I don’t often have a venture in thoughts, as I wish to be shocked and overwhelmed by the unknown at first. It was the identical with Ghana. The venture developed by itself, changing into clearer to me day-to-day. I used to be very occupied with seeing by way of my very own eyes, what was as soon as the place to begin for one of the tragic occasions in historical past: the transatlantic slave commerce. I visited the castles in Elmina and Cape Coast – the final reminiscence slaves had of their homeland earlier than being shipped off throughout the ocean, by no means to return. Additionally, Ghana is the primary African nation south of the Sahara to interrupt free from colonial rule and to realize independence. You’ll be able to really feel a deep sense of nation. It is rather sturdy. Historical past, one in every of my passions, typically makes me select the vacation spot of my travels.
What was your impression of the nation and what photographic strategy did you utilize to seize it?
I found a rustic very wealthy in tradition and traditions with each sturdy Islamic and European influences. It’s one thing you discover after some time. Road pictures was my first strategy, letting myself see the wonder that’s hidden within the quiet moments and seize them immediately. Time then helped me to get nearer to individuals and I slowly began to take portraits. It was not straightforward, as many individuals don’t wish to be photographed, so it took some time to realize their belief.
How did you strategy the individuals, contemplating that human beings are the main focus of your photos?
Persons are at all times on the core of my work. Ever since I started this journey of pictures, individuals have at all times performed the principle function in my photos. At first, it was not as aware and clear a alternative as it’s now. Mutual curiosity is commonly the important thing to my strategy. In some way, I at all times meet girls. In Cape Coast I grew to become buddies with a small Islamic neighborhood I visited typically throughout my two-week keep. They welcomed me from the primary second I stepped by probability into their courtyard, and after that I spent loads of time with them on daily basis. Particularly with the ladies. We related in a short time and talked quite a bit about our lives. It was good and attention-grabbing to share these days with them: these moments are nonetheless with me now.
What does life, regular on a regular basis life, seem like in Ghana?
It’s a really busy every day life! A lot of noises and actions, in all places. As of daybreak, at 6 o’clock within the morning, the streets are bustling with mother and father bringing youngsters to high school, girls heading to market, others going to church of their elegant attire; whereas fishermen on the shore get set to courageous the ocean. As a photographer, it was a paradise to delve into this every day life, so regular, so vibrant.
Your photos are characterised by color. What function does color play within the nation – and on your images?
There are a lot of gorgeous works on Ghana in black and white; however for me it was positively a problem to work in color. The colors of the nation are so enticing, interesting, not straightforward to take care of; however I couldn’t ignore them. I used to be as soon as instructed that color makes my work very private and extra attention-grabbing. I don’t know if it’s true, however my option to work in color is expounded to the place and the way inspirational it’s.
A lot of your topics are youngsters. What significance have they got for the nation – and for you?
Youngsters are open and curious. They at all times wished and loved interacting with me. I visited a number of faculties, in each Cape Coast and Elmina, and the women and boys at all times requested me to spend time with them; which in fact I did with pleasure.
Your collection is named Gold Coast – impressed by Ghana’s export of gold. Your photos, nevertheless, present something however a golden life… Is your collection additionally to be understood as a critique?
Or perhaps there’s a golden life; however, as a way to see it now we have to drop our western perspective. I don’t assume there is only one approach to have a look at life; not simply from one standpoint. I met individuals there who mentioned they’re very proud of their lives, and they’d by no means migrate to different international locations. Others say that quite a bit have to be achieved on many ranges – enrolment in faculties, public well being centres, and many others. the listing is lengthy – and but they might by no means go away the nation. Life is just not straightforward there, it’s true; however individuals have their desires. There’s an African dream, a Ghanaian dream. To me this was one in every of life’s large classes.
You used a Leica Q to take your photos. What was your expertise with it, and what made it particular whereas photographing?
The Leica Q may be very strong, silent and discreet. The navigation may be very intuitive and the digicam response may be very quick; the main focus and settings are very straightforward to use. Actually wonderful. And due to the 28 mm, I used to be pressured to get nearer to individuals. It was an amazing pleasure to make use of it and I extremely suggest it.
What function does custom play in Ghana? And the way does it have an effect on the nation?
From what I noticed, custom performs a robust function there, because it appears to in most of Africa. Within the coastal space, the fishing villages are tightly-knit communities with their very own conventional rituals and beliefs, along with their household values. Household is the centre of life, the bedrock of all social life, the place girls are impartial and highly effective. However in some areas disparity is entrenched. In rural areas, women sadly not solely face poverty, additionally they face the cultural mind-set that thwarts them from going to high school or staying at school after major stage. Conventional gender roles stand in the best way of ladies’s entry to training. I see quite a bit has been achieved in closing the hole between women and boys with regards to training, and the federal government is attempting to interrupt the custom that desires girls to remain at residence. There’s an extended technique to go.
Colors and light-weight as narrative, as feelings, as enhances. Andrea Torrei is an Italian photographer based mostly in Rome, Italy. She works in each black and white and in color, however she has principally been exploring the latter, and its sturdy function in evoking emotions. From portraiture to documentary, from avenue to panorama, the core of her work centres primarily and often round individuals of their odd, on a regular basis lives. Discover out extra about her pictures on her web site and Instagram Web page.