Interviewed by: Rachel Bulley The Ghana's Creative Women series is an opportunity for ReTurn to highlight how women in Ghana are using their love for art and creativity to revive their communities, make themselves financially independent, and discuss what challenges they have faced along the way. In this interview Ms. Bulley talks with Joanna Nana Akua Owusua Obiri – Yeboah. Ms. Nana is a photographer who hasn't let the male dominated industry slow her down.
Do you consider yourself a creative person ? If yes, In your own words, what makes you one?
“Yes I do consider myself as a creative person because I capture memories of people, I draw and can make a lot of hand crafts so I try to bring a new perspective to the normal. Normal is boring.”
How have you developed your creativity? How do you seek out opportunities to showcase or sell what you create?
“I developed my creatively by watching lots of YouTube videos about photography and also I go for lots of canon workshops to help build up to what I already have. I mostly post on Instagram to get clients. I also go for events as a way of socializing and exchanging contacts with potential customers.”
What challenges have you had since you began?
“One challenge is the fact that I am in a male dominated field of work so clients trusting you with work is something else. Also the fact that the client’s budget doesn’t match what he wants and they (clients) always want to under pay you because they think it’s just about having the camera and clicking to produce photos. It’s way more than that.”
What measures did you take to overcome these challenges?
“Being a female in a male dominated sector, I try to beat the odds. I try to prove myself to clients the way and manner in which I get my work done. I am brisk and focused on nothing but capturing the greatest moments’. And the latter part you can’t really avoid it. Ghanaians like to bargain too much and don’t respect the art/creative industry.”
What is your motivation for doing what you're doing?
“I have always loved to draw and paint since birth. I use to draw on my dad’s wall and he would paint it and I would draw again. This kept going until he realized that’s what I wanted to do. I finished high school and brought him a painting of him, he is never been that proud. I found photography in my high school days from a teacher who taught me to paint. I love to capture everything I see because that’s how I get to say “heyy this was when this happened”… pictures are indeed a thousand words. My passion for it since birth is what keeps me going and I believe one day my picture would help solve a misery.”
Do you have a role model who inspires you in your daily work?
“Yeah, I do have a role model and it’s the person I was a day before … it inspires me to be better tomorrow. But I do love Senyuiedzorm Awusi Adadevoh, Ghana’s best female sports photographer. I love her zeal and passion for the work.”
What did you want to be in future when you were a child? Did you end up doing that or it changed, if it changed, what caused it?
“Growing up I wanted to be an Advertising Manager. I haven’t diverted in any way, I would say I am on the right path. I am currently reading communication studies in the Ghana Institute of Journalism. I have already read Cinematography at NAFTI so I am on the right path. Living the dream.”
Years from now, how do you see yourself?
“Hmmm 10 years from now I want to be an advertising manager of the biggest advertising agency in Ghana or own an advertising company.”
What is your advice for people who want to be like you?
“Hmm my advice would be it's not easy in the art/creative industry. People would look down on you and won’t believe in you but always remember you are a star and God's right hand man (he is the biggest artist I know). With passion and determination you can make it. Its not a smooth ride but its fun in the end.”