Michael Aboya: Through African eyes.

by | Jan 20, 2022 | CSA Celebrates, Culture, Design, New Talent, Photography, Talent, Trends

  • Providence: Ghana.
  • Self-taught, award-winning Photographer.
  • Best portrait photographer of 2020, by Agora Images in Spain.
  • Splash screen for the latest Adobe Photoshop Lightroom classic.

African talent making history:

Last year, Ghanaian photographer Michael ABoya made history. His photograph of a boy, executing a somersault stunt into a river under a dark African sunset, was selected as the splash screen of the world’s #2 photo editing software (after Photoshop), the latest Adobe Photoshop Lightroom classic. People all over the world who use the software are now welcomed first by Michael’s photo.

This achievement is not isolated. He won the best portrait photographer of 2020, by Agora Images in Spain, Barcelona. With over 130,000 submissions from all over the world and over 500,000 votes counted, Agora Images recognized Michael’s photograph, ‘Songs of Freedom’, as the Best Photo of the Year.

As for the picture’s inspiration, Michael was at home in Accra listening to Bob Marley’s ‘Redemption Song’ and felt the need to bring the legendary song to life through his photography. ‘Songs of Freedom’ resonates with the African diaspora as it represents the unspoken struggle of freedom and belonging. Aboya imbued an emotional and deeply resonant moment of dignity to the African child conceptualized by a boy playing the violin to his companions under a vibrant African sky, signifying the beginning or perhaps the end of an era.

The Agora Awards is a competition where photographers from all around the world – amateurs and professionals alike – submit their best shots to the Agora free-to-use app. A shortlist of 50 finalists is announced and the final voting phase is then opened to all app-users.

Features, Partnerships and Exhibitions:

Michael’s distinctive eye is set within the texture of his cultural heritage. His images are imbued with obvious talent, but it is the Ghanaian culture of storytelling that comes through so powerfully. These are narratives he makes personal to the viewer. We wonder about his subjects long after seeing his images. This quality has since been recognized by brands and Michael has been featured by and partnered with the likes of Forbes, Adobe, Sony Alpha, BBC, Photographers Without Borders, Agora Images, Sacred Footsteps, Bored Panda, News Hour and News Day.

Like many other African creatives, Michael is also concerned about redirecting the African narrative to something more akin to truth, dispelling the clichés, myths and propaganda fed to the world about the continent. In his first solo exhibition last year, Infinite Luminosity – an exhibition comprising video, poetry, and photography – Michael sought to capture the radiance, joy, hopefulness, and introspection of the of Ghanaian youth in 11 exquisitely composed photographs.

The intention was to allow viewers to experience black joy, love, beauty, play, and poise through his subjects, surrounded by the unique, vibrant, rural, and scenic landscapes of his home country. This is a calculated challenge to historical narratives about the experiences of young Ghanaians, confronting the narrow mindedness and limited Western perspective on Ghanaian life and creative expression. Aboya offers the viewer countless opportunities to witness vivid beauty and brilliance through his inherent use of optimistic light and the inner radiance that he captures in his subjects … allowing viewers to recognize these same, similar qualities in themselves.

C.S.A.’s monthly cultural portal, The WIRE connects the dots of culture. With concise stories, many with video content, take a premium dive into the world of African entertainment & cultural fluidity. It’s one thing to be hip to what’s happening but it is another to know why.

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