Exhibitions

Africa’s Fashion Tribes and London’s Subcultures

Images © Daniele Tamagni and James Barnor, courtesy October Gallery

This collaborative exhibition presents work by Ghanaian photographer James Barnor's analogue photographs of London’s growing multicultural metropolis during the 1960s, and Italian photographer Daniele Tamagni's photographs of fashion sub cultures in Ghana during the 1950s and today.

The exhibition, at London’s October Gallery, follows the launch of recent publications by both photographers – Ever Young, by Barnor, and Fashion Tribes, by Tamagni.

Daniele Tamagni, an Italian photographer, trained as an art historian before travelling worldwide to document colourful fashion subcultures.

Playboys_of_Bacongo 2008 Lambda c-print 74.2 x 126.5 cm Courtesy October Gallery London

Tamagni tries to shoot style and fashion photography in locations outside of Africa’s fashion capitals, such as Brazzaville, Johannesburg, Nairobi and Dakar.

In 2007, he won the Canon Young Photographer Award with a project about Congolese dandies, titled Sapeurs of Brazzaville and in 2010 won the ICP Infinity Award in fashion category.

“Tamagni shines light on the renaissance happening in developing economies and the power of fashion to push economic and cultural boundaries today,” October gallery said in a statement.

Daniele Tamagni, The Xalay Fashion Ladys # 2 Lambda c-print 41 x 56 cm Courtesy October Gallery London

Tamagni’s subjects are reflective of James Barnor’s models of the 60s with fashion aiding their nonchalant confidence.

James Barnor was born in Accra, Ghana in 1929. Working for the Daily Graphic, as their first photojournalist, and Drum magazine, the influential anti-apartheid journal for lifestyle and politics, Barnor rapidly became one of East Africa’s most well-known photojournalists.

After moving to the UK in 1959, Barnor continued to work on commissions for Drum, in London, shooting models for its covers.

Daniele Tamagni, Jerry Moeng del gruppo Smangor Johannesburgi Courtesy October Gallery

“Barnor’s portraits depict the self-assurance and individualistic fashion trends that dominated,” October gallery said of his work in a statement.

Style dictated the identity of Londoners during the sixties but continues to do so in contemporary society.

October Gallery, 24 Old Gloucester Street, London WC1N 3AL, from 8th September to 30th September. More information is available here.