Connect with us

Photography & Spoken Word

Magic in the Air

Published

on

Two coconut trees with long trunks are looking down at an old building. Their fronds are close and nearly touching. Between them are three birds with wings apart, frozen in flight. They look more like they’re circling than moving toward a destination. There’s a fourth bird, lower and to your right. It is caught in the angle created by that coconut tree and the right side of the frame of the picture.

Further below is the top end of an old fortress. It is the Elmina Castle, because a canon is peering out from above the building. The wall of this fortress, which is painted white, has not been painted in a while. Still, it offers the impression of something strong. It is the Elmina Castle. As Ghanaian, you probably guessed it immediately you saw it.

The picture is the scene of solitude, and was taken by Kwasi Kyei Mensah Jnr., a budding photographer who is himself drawn to the idea of peace and mature solitude, i.e, the one which is not characterised by sadness of any kind. He’s also drawn to black and white, which is a tool for class and timelessness in a photo…if you ask me. With black and white photography too, Kyei easily achieves the complexion of air and the fluorescence of quiet.

It was this quality in his work, specifically, which attracted me to him in August of last year. He had posted a photo on his Facebook wall…also rendered in black and white, also capturing beautifully, the atmosphere of solitude. It was a picture of a man riding a bicycle and wearing a hat. Fastened to the carrier of the bike is a gas cylinder and two polythene bags. Trees and street lights are blurred in the distance, and he’s virtually the only thing we see, save for the short pole behind him. This picture is so silent and arresting, it initiates conversation in our minds; Who is the man on the bike? What is in the plastic bags? What is his occupation? Is he on an errand for himself or a master? Is he depressed on that day?

Let’s return to the picture of the Elmina Castle though, shall we? The sky behind is stainless and all but deserted and resembles a canvas. It seems to me that the sky in the frame was the only spot for activity on that day. It is a brilliant picture, taken hours into the afternoon in natural light. The sky is usually a peaceful place.

Who looks into the sky? Which photographer aims their camera into the sky? We all look into the sky; it’s the farthest thing we can see with our physical eyes and the closest thing to God, literally. We look into the skies often, and since we can’t see God, the sky is also god to us, and sends our prayers to the deity beyond it.

Who looks into the sky? It is the person who has lost hope or the one who is looking for some peace and beauty. The sky is gentle; there’s hardly hasty activity in it. Occasionally there’s a flying object; a bird, a plane, a shooting star, a cloud…but somehow, the sky slows them all down.

What is the focus in this photograph? It is the coconut trees; who look like friends from childhood who have made it to old age. They are identical because they are all they’ve had for a long time so they just mirror each other. They seem to gossip about activity on the sea ahead and the expressions on the faces of tourists. It is the coconut trees because their trunks look like they have been through challenge and have known evening loneliness.

What is the focus in this photograph? It is the birds up there in the sky but with no destination in mind in the meantime, just spreading their wings to the refreshment of altitude. They are like little children playing in the sand or chasing each other with giggles and for recreation. As we have experienced, it is the best time to live…it is the best way to live; constantly laughing, easily forgiving and dwelling without care or thought about the morrow.

What is the focus of this picture? It is the canon who’s tail we can only see. It’s not all there is to it, but it’s all you need to see to be frightened…if you know what danger a canon can be.

It is the wall which hasn’t been painted in a while; it has seen so much and been part of so much death shameful history and nobody has demanded an opinion from it. Walls have ears, and this wall is a very important wall. It has heard tears and prayers of hundreds (thousands, perhaps) and stood through the various phases of the history of the native. It can tell that the tour guide is being inaccurate, but it is doesn’t say anything…it’s just waiting to be asked. It has seen several centuries and will witness more, so it has developed courage and nonchalance. It was built for that kind of thing.

It is the gentle sky which works perfectly as backdrop. It’s expansive, covering the entire frame… and is the reason every other element in the frame stands out, but it doesn’t demand any of the credit. It leaves it to happy birds and coconut fronds.

What is the focus of this photograph? It’s everything and nothing. I doubt if Kyei set out to take merely a shot of birds, coconut trees and a wall –everybody can take photographs of buildings and birds.

I suspect that he set out to capture mood; the adjectives “calm”, “gentle”, and “home”. He recognises that it’s not something e can easily do. Memory? Fine, but mood is rare even to a camera. In the end, he wants something with longevity in its beauty, so he looks to the sky…at the one thing which is farthest from the naked eye and closest to God. This is the result. Everything in the frame looks like it’s supposed to be there, like they have been carefully picked out for a ceremony.

This picture is brilliant, because it’s natural, an accident even. But it’s an accident that Kyei intended and patiently ambushed.

It is beautiful and serene –this picture –to the point of therapy. It is also a serious picture, and pays homage to the sky and its purity. It’s interaction with the eyes is silent and meditative, so it’s an important picture.

A version of this essay appears on myershansen.wordpress.com

Comments
Advertisement
Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

Photography & Spoken Word

#ENEWSGHPoeticLicence: Escape – Asford PSALM

Published

on

Up-above or down-below, there’s so much but nothing to show.

Down-below or up-above there’s everywhere but nowhere to go.

The option is a smiling face yet a hurting heart;

A sweating face mixed with tears which cannot be abate.

A mustard seed faith which is damned by fate.

There is an exigent need to escape.

Yet; beneath the reflection is a mountain of everything and nothingness;

Its peak dwells deep down into the earth.

Beneath the reflection of this calm river are waves that speaks with no still voice.

A sun as pale as the moon;

A sky without birds;

And clouds as jagged as a curse.

Beneath the reflection is a person whose world has been turned upside down.

Exigency beckons for an escape!

But within that same reflection there cannot be an escape for the poor soul.

Escape cometh by deflection.

 

by Asford Psalm

 

Comments
Continue Reading

Photography & Spoken Word

#ENEWSGHPoeticLicence: TRANSITION – Asford PSALM!

Published

on

Life is a gift.

Our being on earth.

Our existence, leaves far too many unanswered questions.

Marvelously, the more we try to comprehend, the more complicated it becomes.

The more we try to discover, many doors we do create with more questions needing answers behind them.

 

The Supernatural force of creation, let onto us; ‘grace’ and a much bigger scope of possibilities.

The possibility of ‘what is’, ‘what could be’, ‘what is not’, and why we should fail even before another possibility arises.

 

There are no mistakes in life.

A deed today; be it positive or otherwise, has a role in nature’s path to perfection.

Each string of humanity, every possibility, every single thought and idea, every failure, every success, countless disasters, brutalities and every single action of who so ever, is perfection.

There is a greater picture of life than just living.

What you choose to see is up to you.

When and what you think is your own perquisite initiative.

 

Life is a fairy tale.

At least, that is what the young soul might think.

Could they be wrong?

How we see life is an extension of our imagination, far and exceedingly above what is by sight.

Life is living with a foot in the past, the other in the present and our greatest tool; the mind, on the future.

And this does not limit our transition to being the bigger man.

Being the bigger man in the picture is mostly life in its entirety.

It’s being the better you.

 

Being better than you were years, days, hours or even seconds ago.

Challenging yourself to every inch of possibility and opportunity known to even circles beyond.

It is about accepting what is and not.

It is about giving-in every stroke of ink to the bigger painting than what you possibly see at an arm stretch away.

It is about giving that hand;

Sharing that space;

Being fueled by the negativities;

Seeing through the pain;

Feeling that shame and standing right back up at where you lost your name;

It’s about being hurt, shedding those tears;

Having many fears, loosing as many as possible ‘dears’;

Falling down, rising back up;

Sharing that simple smile;

Getting angry, losing control and coming right back on track;

Falling apart, gathering every broken piece together;

It’s about being curious, living an adventure, going an extra mile, fracturing your parts, limping on them;

It’s about living in the shadows and coming out with a body;

It’s about doing the wrongs;

Apologizing for what is due;

It’s about righting the wrongs.

Making the best out of each flaw;

Facing your demons;

Praying to live on;

Hoping for the best;

Living the present;

Hoping to avert the worst;

It’s about dreaming big;

Thinking fast and being smart.

 

Life is short for regrets.

Life is about knowing when to say ‘Yes’ and staying firm to your ‘No’.

It’s about being strong when weakness wants to get you on hold.

It’s about being defined and re-defined

Being molded and re-molded.

It’s about coming out with an extra lining of excellence.

Life is just a fascinating intangible.

Its drive is faith.

A hope of a better future than the past.

And the living of the present.

 

Life is worth living but not dying for.

When all goes wrong; raise your head up high, face the sun and as you hope for a change, make it.

If all is well, be thankful.

 

Life is a gift.

An imagination waiting to be made possible not only by chance but by actions.

 

Asford psalms

Comments
Continue Reading

Photography & Spoken Word

#ENEWSGHPoeticLicence: Grounds that feet walk on – Asford PSALM!

Published

on

The sun is over the horizon;

Kissing the peak of the mountains.

The clouds glees over the earth;

And they foresee every birth;

Birds, man and those not on land.

I am jealous but not for something on land.

Have you seen the birds fly and sing;

They don’t mind whistling through the wind.

Have you seen the wind itself and how it flies without wings?

I don’t know if it has its own problems, but at least it freely flies

I’m jealous of how it sings without a voice or being reminded its key was off choice.

 

I’m jealous of the wind, sky and whatever that flays within.

The clouds morphing into whatever and dancing to that which the wind sings;

The sun’s rays flirting for a pathway through;

And even the free fall of rain drops or moist dew.

I’m jealous of the wind and all it has and can do.

The power it has over how I breathe through my nose and without it, who knows?

The places it goes, where men dare not.

When it blows in its own time without anyone daring to bless it with a fine.

 

I’m jealous of the sun and all that he knows.

I’m jealous of the moon and her beauty she shows.

I’m jealous of the night stars that glitters than gold.

Ultimately, I’m jealous of nature- those parts that’s above our legs.

Because here on earth, on the grounds that men walk, there’s nothing to be jealous of unless you prefer to cry or better yet, die!

 

 

 

Comments
Continue Reading

Photography & Spoken Word

#ENEWSGHPoeticLicence: Self-ish-less – Asford Psalm

Published

on

Consider oneself less, lest others perception of you will be of a mongering nature- Selfish.

Selfishness is the inclination towards oneself.

But to what extent does an act qualify to be selfish?

If unclear, act selfless.

Consider yourself less and others’ perception of you shall be just.

Isn’t that hypocritical?

 

To what extent does an act qualify to be selfless?

Well, that’s an easy say.

What of- which act does a man perform and not consider himself; whether last or even first?

The problem others have is yourself being first.

How hypocritical?

The hypocrisy that lies within is ‘self’.

 

Selfishness or selflessness, to what extent does an act commit to be either?

Is it even a matter?

Because the very innate of human is the sober reflection of self in the prism of life.

Selfish or selfless, the words themselves have ‘self’ therein-

If a man does good, he does for himself;

And an act today is a consideration for tomorrow.

So then, which of them has no ‘self’ thereof?

 

If a man considers himself less, he is a hypocrite.

If he considers himself first, he is also a hypocrite.

Which is greater, does it matter?

Self is everywhere.

You need not agree.

However, look at the very innate of man.

It is carved beautifully within.

Whatever side you want to view it;

Whether from your side or the perception of others;

Whether for the image you want to portray or the true nature you want to slay;

Accept or deny it, there is one word left astray- Hypocrisy!

And it is an innate of man.

I only judge because one is clearly visible than the other.

How hypocritical of me?

 

Asford Psalms

 

 

Comments
Continue Reading

Photography & Spoken Word

#ENEWSGPoeticLicence: Anthem – ASFORD PSALMS

Published

on

What do you feel when you hear the nation’s anthem being played?

How do you feel when you see our flag being waved?

Do you put your right hand on the area of your heart to promise on your honor?

Has everything become some sentences bundled together that we recite in leisure?

How do we commune with the words therein, what does it stand for?

Where did we come from; where are we; what do we want; how do we get what we want and so forth?

So many things seemed to have been wronged.

 

Do we even care to know?

Where we came from, how we got here, what do we want- the simple, ‘how’, ‘what’, ‘where’.

If we have ignored these simple things, then how will we know where we want to rightly go?

 

The blackness of the Star is pale.

Just as the flag itself has become frail for the many hours it has waved in the unhidden rays of the sun.

Burning off during the day and cooling off at the sight of the moonlight.

And that’s all we have come to be!

Another article within the sun’s reach; working all day for God knows what and resting at night.

That’s all left to see; nothing quickening our might.

 

Remember when the Red in the flag stood for the blood shed by our fore fathers; the Gold representing our essential riches; the Green, our supreme vegetation and the Black Star, the Hope of Africa?

It is right that I used ‘remember’ because our now has met a redefinition.

Red: Our senseless struggles for the greens and golden riches where in actuality it’s rather the next in within the flag.

Where’s our sense of priority?

Painting the city red with blood from a redefined course to all extent to gain wealth and riches.

Oh! Not to talk of the senseless struggle for bunch acknowledgement certs which certifies that we have spent many years over-learning and not working with it.

Most times we work, is for self and to enjoy later at night when we again paint the city red with carpets.

 

How about the Gold?

That’s the order of the day.

Our self-search for enrichment.

For that we are bold!

Our greed has over shadowed the Black Star which cuts across the belly of the gold.

On a scale of on-to-ten, can we value the hope left within the Black Star amidst the endless battle and greed for gold?

 

The Green, what’s left of it?

Trees being cut down; no replant, no regrowth.

Green is being made out so money corrupts the fold.

 

Omanbapa!

What is left of our nation?

The one our fore fathers left for us?

The very same our present-past fathers have corrupted.

And if we think it’s fair to shed the blame to them, wait to hear what our children will do to us for not righting their wrongs.

Because they too will be left with either of two options; continuing with that we leave for them or cleaning our mess.

And that’s an endless cycle for those next.

 

What do you feel when the anthem is being played?

Is it a call to quicken our spirit for Ghana or to sharpen your wits?

How do you feel when the flag is being waved?

Is it pride for Ghana or for thyself?

Let us find our lost honor before we pledge to Ghana.

For if we are lost, there’s no fidelity in the path that we carve for others.

Greed and self doesn’t make our nation stand tall and strong except thyself.

There’s no way the tyres of a moving vehicle can be changed as it wheels in motion.

There’s nothing as being too late.

And it is better if we start now!

It is time to flap on our beautifully woven Kente cloth, put the colouful beads on our wrist and slide our feet into the kingly Ahenema.

It is time to move forward our heavy feet to grace the occasion.

There’s no better time than now.

It is time to move on.

 

God Bless Our Homeland Ghana!

 

Asford Psalms

Comments
Continue Reading

Events & Places

Volta Hotel to Host Happy FM Dream Wedding Best Couples

Published

on

As part of the Honeymoon packages for the Best three couples from the just ended Happy FM Dream Wedding, Volta Hotel at Akosombo in the Eastern Region will on Saturday March 3rd host the couples.

The three couples, Mr. and Mrs. Nutakor, Mr. and Mrs. Ologo and Mr. and Mrs. Acquah were adjudged the best three couples during the Happy FM Dream Wedding which took place on February 14 at Cleaver House in Accra.

These three couples will enjoy a Honeymoon treat which includes a 2-night stay at the plush Volta Hotel.

According to Kwesi Sarpong, Programmes Manager for Happy FM, the three couples will begin their Honeymoon treat at Volta Hotel on Saturday.

The Happy FM Dream Wedding is a fulfilment of a social responsibility of the station and the event takes place each year on Valentine’s Day.

 

SUBMITTED!

 

Comments
Continue Reading

Facebook

Recent Posts

OVER THE PERIOD

Advertisement

First News