vibrant street snaps of ghana’s electric youth
For their latest international adventure as collective Tripod City, photographers Charlie Kwai, Chris Lee, and Paul Storrie traveled to Ghana to capture candid moments in the colorful West African community.
Photography Charlie Kwai
UK-based photographers Charlie Kwai, Chris Lee, and Paul Storrie have different styles and approaches to shooting on the street. "Chris prefers people to be candid, and unaware of the camera whereas Paul converses with people and photographs them with permission. And I look to capture spontaneous moments with as much energy as possible," Kwai tells me. But it's these varied perspectives that make the trio's collective project, Tripod City, all the more dynamic. The globetrotting project captures a place and its people in one humorous, honest, and humanistic story.
Last year, the group traversed northern China shooting small towns and manic mega-cities from Beijing to Shanghai, collecting their travels in a photobook, Made in China. So when it came time for their next adventure, the guys set their sights somewhere a little different: Ghana. The erratic and energetic photographs form Gold Dust, Tripod City's brand new book and exhibition which launched last night in London.
"Ghana is a place where everyone is your friend," Kwai says, and he's definitely right. Gold Dust gets up close and personal with some of the West African hub's most individualistic youth — cataloguing seaside selfie snaps, smiles glimmering with iced-out grills, and bold street style. "Fashion in Ghana is all about recycling. They have West Africa's biggest open air market in Kumasi, where shipping container loads of second hand clothes are piled up — and it's good stuff. So it's not hard to look good in Ghana, you just have to do a bit of digging to find a few gems," Kwai explains. But it's the bold balance between hidden market gems and traditional wax prints and kente weaves that truly "defines the vibrancy of the Ghanaians," he adds.
We'll have to wait and see where Tripod City touches down next, but wherever they land, the goal is clear: "We set out to inspire the imagination and spark new thoughts that might change your opinion of a place and its people," says Kwai.
'Gold Dust' is published by Village; its exhibition runs through August at Dream Bags Jaguar Shoes. More information here.
Text Emily Manning