The photography of Accra-based photographer Carlos Idun-Tawiah is striking, to say the least. Rich, warm colour palettes are accentuated by a careful consideration for lighting, making sure to fuse moments of candid interaction with slightly staged scenery. “I remember my late dad would buy all these disposable polaroid cameras since he really liked to document our growth,” Carlos tells It’s Nice That. “And he would keep the prints of us with him whenever he travelled.” This tradition of documenting growth, change and life is something which Carlos carries through in his own photography. The people of Accra come alive in these shots, memorialised by the frame.
Boys Will Always Be Boys stands out for many reasons – but one in particular is the heartfelt story behind it. Capturing different boys and men throughout Accra, the series eschews usual narratives of masculinity in favour of telling a much more personal and intimate story. “This ongoing photo series is essentially a requiem of my childhood friendships and that of many people who grew up in very communal environments,” Carlos explains. “This is my own way of highlighting the joy of friendships and community especially among boys, and how quickly yet deeply we get connected to each other through leisure, our aspirations and even over our competitiveness.” The series does a great job in elevating “the mundane things” with a refined, artistic eye. “From how a 9-inch ball could bring us together on a dusty pitch for hours, to how flying kites and chasing sunsets at the beach felt like therapy for us.”
“It also always baffled me how we could go months as friends without knowing our real names and could still act like life-long brothers,” Carlos adds. “This series is meant to question that observation and open the dialogue of how simple life could be if we could just see each other as family before anything else.” Kinship and intimacy is paramount to Boys Will Always Be Boys, reiterated by the capturing of joy, or a gentle touch, or camaraderie and companionship frozen in time.
Primarily, Carlos is intrigued with the “classical aesthetic” throughout the series. “Somewhat stylised, but still animating my subjects as organically as possible by allowing them to do what they wanted to in the settings I placed them in,” he explains. “Hence maintaining the reality of my memories through a fictional narrative.” Working alongside friends and strangers, Carlos built a team around him to help the project come to life. “I made this story with a lot of love and joy from the nostalgia of combing through my memories, and if anyone feels half as much joy and love as the team and I did creating this body of work then I believe my work is done,” Carlos concludes. “I also hope everyone, however old or young, that sees this body of work feels the urge to go out again, to play and to feel the essence of being and belonging.”
GalleryCarlos Idun-Tawiah: Boys Will Always Be Boys (Copyright © Carlos Idun-Tawiah, 2023)
Carlos Idun-Tawiah: Boys Will Always Be Boys (Copyright © Carlos Idun-Tawiah, 2023)
About the Author
Joey is a freelance design, arts and culture writer based in London. They were part of the It’s Nice That team as editorial assistant in 2021, after graduating from King’s College, London. Previously, Joey worked as a writer for numerous fashion and art publications, such as HERO Magazine, Dazed, and Candy Transversal.