This year has thrown a fair few surprises at the world! There is (shock horror) no festivals this year which turned out to be lucky because the trip to produce the new collection in Ghana turned from 2 months into 4! Our original plans of working with renowned Accra photographer @derrick_o_boateng to shoot the new collection had to be postponed because of the lockdown in the city and we had to go full D.I.Y!
In the quiet beach resort of Busua in the Western Region of Ghana we linked up with upcoming Ghanaian photographer @clickseezy_photography and came up with a plan to shoot the new Ashanti collection right there in the village.
For many years a half built, derelict house has stood between guesthouses and restaurants on the beautiful beachfront. Its been used as a stage for the annual Afrobeat music festival Asa Baako, a place for travelling craftspeople to sell their wares as well as a local chillout spot for guys to hang out at sunset. There is no roof, only the cement walls which are covered with crudely written graffiti names, drawn on in charcoal and paint and more colourful paintings from artists. The place seemed the perfect spot to create our DIY outdoor photo studio!
In the nearby market village of Agona we bought a couple of pots of paint and some Lino flooring. Back in Busua we borrowed some rollers and began coating one of the walls (and ourselves) in colour! We then painted the back of the Lino in the same colour to create a matching studio floor which could be easily edited in post production.
So now we had a studio, all we needed were models! Local friends, musicians and others who were also stranded in Busua were happy to get involved. We attempted the first shoot on a Tuesday afternoon, it had to be after 3pm (when the shadow disappeared from the wall) but before 6pm when the light was too low. Inevitably used to beach life, especially during Corona times everyone was late and the sun was beginning to fade, not allowing us enough light to shoot more than a few pieces. The following morning, with the amazing skills of @clickseezy_photography and our fantastic models, many of whom were modelling for the first time, we were able to shoot all of the new collection.
We also did another promo shoot with Click which used the village of Busua as it’s backdrop. We wandered around, camera in hand looking for walls with nice colours and textures, natural lighting and interesting backgrounds.
The inability to do our original photoshoot in Accra was only just the beginning, it led us on a journey of creativity, innovation and collaboration. We took the sour lemons we were given and made some pretty fine lemonade!
Look out for the new Ashanti Empress collection launching online in JULY.