Eric Asamoah’s photographic series documents the precarious journey from boy to man
The Austrian-Ghanaian photographer tells It’s Nice That about his new series which revolves around the patience of growth and pursuit of self as a young man.
- Dalia Al-Dujaili
- 13 September 2021
- Reading Time
- 3 minute read
When Eric Asamoah was a kid, he looked through the lens of a camera and suddenly had an intense feeling of warmth and understanding. This feeling carried him through to his current practice, knowing that this medium was going to have a major influence on his life, “somehow, someday”.
At a mere 21 years old, he tells us that his teens were the time he explored the medium most seriously: “At the age of 15 I started to photo assist commercial photographers in my town and absorb the technical aspects of image making while digging deep into magazines, photo books of Gordon Parks, Peter Lindbergh, Elfie Semotan, Jork Weismann and scrolling through fashion images taken by David Sims and Juergen Teller etc. on Tumblr.” Through these influences, the photographer explains, he started to understand what he wanted to photograph and how to use photography as a tool for storytelling.
Research is always a crucial part of the photographer’s process. “Based on the assignment I look at what lighting, location and scenario we can arrange and plan it. I usually shoot with sunlight, natural daylight or diffused studio light, I like to keep it simple and have the main focus on the person or object in front of me.” For Eric, interaction with his subject is essential, “showing interest and connecting with people as a photographer makes the images and the experience of photographing them much more alive. It’s always pleasing to see the person allowing themselves to be their authentic self while capturing them, it’s like they can pause the world and live in it how they want to for a few seconds.”
Working commercially and for his personal projects, he tells us that he gets inspiration from the act of capturing existing moments and giving them meaning. He wants his photos to be a universal language between his viewers. He’s learnt not to be judgemental about certain things and to not force change if it’s not necessary: “I like the idea of letting life breathe and flourish itself for what it is.”
His new project The Day After Tomorrow is an exercise in portraying the patience of striving for an idea of the self as a young man in today’s world, through scenes that seem reminiscent of Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight. The artist claims that the images lead us through a series of young men through time, finding peace within the transitions of boyhood through to adulthood, a tough transition period. “Most of the protagonists are captured in very eased behaviour – they're resting, waiting, seeking or visualising by closing their eyes.”
Eric was inspired by the concept of time and what it does to us for the project. “How the past is still present today and also will have an influence on tomorrow and the future.” He tells us that starting a new journey can be exciting, but it also can be attached to anxieties.
The transition period from boy to man can be an especially daunting one. But “once you understand the journey,” says Eric, “you begin to operate differently as a person and start to question your surroundings, your past beliefs, dreams and yourself. You begin to seek the truth, be vulnerable and honest about yourself and slowly find your true colours. This is a beautiful and complex process to appreciate and to enjoy, it will not always be rosy and peachy but at the end of the day you'll find peace during the process – if not today, if not tomorrow then eventually the day after tomorrow.”
Like many children of diaspora, Eric’s parents always told him how important it was to know his roots. His parents placed much meaning on practicing African philosophy and mentality growing up. It was therefore important for Eric to do this project in a place where his parents and his roots stem from. “One of those teachings was being fearless, personally this was a big one for me. It helped me to navigate myself, to believe in myself, my dreams, ideas and thoughts. Now, finally being in Ghana for this project after all those years (my last visit was in the year 2013) and connecting with the people, is just peace for me.”
GalleryEric Asamoah: The Day After Tomorrow (Copyright © Eric Asamoah, 2021)
Eric Asamoah: The Day After Tomorrow, 2021
About the Author
Dalia joined It’s Nice That as a news writer in July 2021 after graduating in English Literature from The University of Edinburgh. She's written for various indie publications such as Azeema and Notion, and ran her own magazine and newsletter platforming marginalised creativity.