Photography & Spoken Word Magic in the Air Published 8 months ago on March 11, 2017 By Gabriel Myers Hansen 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 Related Topics: Advertisement You may like Click to comment You must be logged in to post a comment Login Leave a Reply Cancel replyYou must be logged in to post a comment. Photography & Spoken Word #ENEWSGHPoeticLicence: Interpretation – ASFORD PSALMS Published 7 days ago on November 11, 2017 By Gabriel Myers Hansen Meaning is vital in every facet of life. Understanding is what makes purpose achievable. And an understandable meaning is what drives thinking everything into completeness. There are three sides to a coin. The head; the tail and the curved rim which makes the coin have its shape. Interpretation has the three sides of the coin. The head; for the truth. The tail; for the false. And the rim as half way between the truth and false. The understanding of meaning of a context lies with interpretation. It is what drives internal conscious and unconscious thinking to external communication; communal interactions and global harmonization. Interpretation is one hand that holds universal co-habitation. No one can accurately understand a situation or context another man sees except him. There is room for errors and they are generally based on interpretation. When two people attempt to interpret to a degree, the same context, there will be tolerance. Interpretation tries to define itself through comparison to a coin. The truth is one; the false is, too. But the curved rim makes the whole thing long. When you toss a coin, either you get a head or a tail. Truth can be told or false rolled. But in our minds, the probability of the curved side in a toss, can’t hold. And that is what makes the coin strong. The thicker the rim, the stronger its faces. The stronger the faces, the greater its power. The coin of interpretation has given birth to many sisters. Most of which are clearly sisters of confusion- in the religions, the sciences, economies and a lot more. Religions have teased themselves with the pride of superiority. Science has been linked to certain essence of religions. Economies have tried to be sobered and has revolutioned to politics. But the major human element which underlines these relatives is not often told because it is elusive, with or without caution. Religons akin in many ways. They have fundamental ideologies that binds their nature and principles. They have scriptures, values, histories and tales which when subjected to human elements and understanding; its interpretation breeds the conflicts we all feel. The same context can be read over and over again by different people and each tries to bring a differnt interpretation based on presumptive thrills. And that blows the storm of chaos which have ravaged the world before the birth of time. Even from the same home, science and religion have conflicted. With creation, evolution and many other theories. Religion has warred against science and science against religion on who and what forces holds the universe. Religion has long been the opium of life and science tries to explain what is in life. Human interpretation is what binds and the same drives them to wit ends. For the more enligtened we get, the deeper the war rests. And unless we read and perfectly interpret the hidden words in between the lines, the old times will never change. The age of the sages will never end. The room for thinking will never be shut. The evolution in revolutioned will not end. Human societies have created certain believes, teachings, wisdom contexts, economies and political warfield. The tricks are ideological philosophies and they too need to be expounded. Interpreting them creates the confusion that loots man of its sanity into pockets, at most, those with greed and unjustified wickedness. In simple fact, you either interpret from the rim to the face, for the truth. Or you interpret to the tail for the false. Humans will always interpret to suit their understanding and purpose. It’s just simple. It is one of the things that brings the hue into a man. Asford psalms. Comments Continue Reading Photography & Spoken Word #ENEWSGHPoeticLicence: Solace in a man’s Sinful Solitude – Asford Psalm Published 2 weeks ago on November 3, 2017 By Gabriel Myers Hansen His Silent Sins The actions of a man are but only the extension of his thoughts. The lone traveled road, the whispers in his ears, is the silent sins held with the solitude of the voice shared only in his head. Is a man liberated to be and live beyond his thinking? Albeit, he cannot live above his thoughts, he can live above himself. And nothing stops him. Except in his vainglory, emptiness in his veins will remain pouring. A man cannot rise above his thoughts; he is his thinking and his thoughts are him. Except it is a dream he is having. Can a man live at the other side of a mirror? Nothing stops him. But a man cannot prove to you someone he is not. If he is good, he is good. Except he is a good liar, then you won’t be able to tell his truth from the lie. Even if he tells the lie, it is sweet and counts as good. Then you know that’s the man, he cannot prove to you above that. Withal! How can you tell? Truth cannot stay hidden forever in the shadow of the moon. The sun will shine when the time is right and then your guess is as good as mine. A man may have enough yet still seek more. Nothing hinders his path. Except it moves from a wish into an act of a beseeching witch. In his greed for more, his back will be away from the wall. His path is lit with gravitating things then he will forget to look before he slips. Few steps ahead lay an abyss and he shall fall but it will be late to have his last wish; that that abyss could have been just a shallow ditch. A man can have all he wants; inclusive those not his. Nothing bars him. Except that the pleasure will lie at the tip and time has an abundant bit. Forbidden fruit has always tasted the sweetest but when time catches up, he is the only one on the leash. A man owns his own demons. In his irascibility, a place he is to visit less, makes him drawn into the pleasure of power. A delusion, the low hanging fruit on the forbidden tree will let him stay under the casted shade of pettiness. What a pitiful pity! A man makes his choices. The reality of its outcome tells whether or not he is wise or otherwise. Not claiming the outcomes adorns him to be wise but his actions are ultimately his prize. A man can only be influenced to make a choice by his own thoughts or by the man next to him. But even that man next to him has always been the man himself. Asford Psalms Comments Continue Reading Photography & Spoken Word #ENEWSGHPoeticLicence: Unintended – ASFORD PSALMS Published 3 weeks ago on October 28, 2017 By Gabriel Myers Hansen I am a good man. Never held a real gun. What I had was a toy one. Not meant for killing- it was folly and fun. I am a good man. Never held a knife to kill another man. The knife I held was for vegetables, an easter bunny, thanksgiving turkey, a chicken and another holiday’s ram. I am a good man. I never say things to break another man’s heart nor limbs. But all of it doesn’t matter now- guns and knives, my words rather caused a rife. I was a good man. I never killed any other than a big ram. But now I killed a soul; I killed a life, just before it begun. It was unintended and this pun wasn’t fun. I have really regretted. Never did I beget the thoughts of ill rot. The harm has been done so count me not a good man. Now I cast my dice into the sight of the Creator’s sun and what’s not. I plead to find favor in the right court. I was a good man. But as it stands, I wonder into the dark with my unintended thoughts. Asford Psalms. Comments Continue Reading Music Fresh IMAGES for Raquel ahead of new single releases! Published 4 weeks ago on October 23, 2017 By Gabriel Myers Hansen Singer Raquel is set to drop two new singles before the year comes to a close. Reportedly including a collaboration with rapper EL, the songs follow other submissions for 2017 as ‘I Slay’ (featuring Medikal), Happy Birthday’, as well as ‘Lakabo’. A choreographer and actress too, Raquel is signed to BlackStar SR Entertainment, and is famous for such songs as Sweetio (ft. Sarkodie), and Lovi Dovi. Ahead of the release, the admired singer releases stunning Bra Carl-made promo pictures: Comments Continue Reading Photography & Spoken Word #ENEWSGHPoeticLicence: Penna – Asford Psalms! Published 4 weeks ago on October 20, 2017 By Gabriel Myers Hansen A truth sayer or a lie teller. An instrument of just or an instrument with lust. And it loves to tell the fate. It wouldn’t mind if it chooses your dismay. An instrument from history. An instrument of history. A tool in the present and one into the mystery. You have won many defeats. Most importantly, you led the victories. It is intriguing how no one pays much attention to your roll in life. For your intentions are hidden in the ink. Ink of life and death. Ink of lies but sometimes, with truth. You right the scripts of forever. You signed the wars that should have started; never! With you, the truce have been signed in the ‘bonds of ever’. Your intentions are not far from that of the creator. Neither do you hold a different thought from that of the user. You may not be fancy but your use can not be under emphasized. Your strokes; If put into being are facts. But your facts can hide the truth. For our world is not a fiction. Neither would it run on what could be. You can tell the right from the wrong. So can you confess the false. Why you do that lies in the head of you and the holder. Lives have been bondaged. Some; set free. Others hang in the balance. Truth have been told. So have lies been said. Facts have been written. So has fiction been sent. Imaginations have been drawn. Literature has been adorned. Conflicts have been marked. Wars have been set off. So were it truce; signed on. Intelligence have been documented. So has stupidity reflected. Contracts; awarded. And fortunes, mishandled. Some are fortunate to have you at start. Others struggle to earn your elite wisdom. You may not be expensive but your service is at the expense of the world. Your ink holds the essence of power. You rule the world in disguise only because you have the power to do so. Even though your authority comes from above, your intelligence can be greatly argued. There is a beast in each man. And you give it a chance to rule when you place in its hold that one great weapon of simplified standards. That weapon; is the pen Asford psalms. Comments Continue Reading Photography & Spoken Word #ENEWSGHPoeticLicence – A Little Bit – ASFORD PSALMS Published 1 month ago on October 14, 2017 By Gabriel Myers Hansen A little bit seems longer. The hour glass turns over. A little shift; I grow no younger. And I can’t always be sober. Our days are still running but sometimes it seems over. Our days; our lives. Our race; our stripes. We make the rules. But we can’t always choose. Our plans are like wishes. I wish to be in his shoes. So others will want to be in mine too. Our plans are like wishes. They don’t always come through. I wished to laugh; fortunately, I did. I wished to succeed; interestingly, I won the bid. But our wishes are like plans. They don’t always work through. Just as the time changes with seasons. Our laugh changes; with or without reason. Our path changes with a humorous teasing. And our life expects us to learn; lessons. Sometimes, it is too much to bare the weight of its pain. And we can’t always be sane. Especially, when our toil turns in vain. And when the smooth turns really rough. When the truth turns extremely lost. And our youth; put into corfs. When our hearts are broken and made carelessly soft. When the trade of our hands are lost. And our fortunes turns to cost. When our fathers are shot; by any flying bullet. And our mothers, maltreated by any available societal mullet. When our sons and brothers are sold to a gang of hooligan soldiers. And our daughters and sisters; bought by societal mullets and sold to the gang of hooligan soldiers. Even these are not enough. For life sees tangible reasons to molest our young ones. Tear apart their clothes and rip away their dignity. It sees reasons to suppress our old bags. And oppress our ‘free valves’. It sees reasons to shed more blood. Blood of our true sons. Life sees reasons for us to change our path. And it enjoys the punchline when what we chose ends us up in cuffs. Is the problem with life or with the beings? For it sees reasons to wipe away our smile and put in it place, a heart of pain and frown. We believe in the divinity of the heavenly crown. But a little bit seems longer. A little shift; and we grow no younger. A little lift; and we will be stronger. Our days are numbered. Our lives have suffered. Our stripes, have numbers. Our future; seems, a conquest. But a little bit seems longer. The hour glass turns over. Yet, I urge to hold on; a little bit; much more, longer. Asford Psalms. 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