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Wedding Guests in London

  • Object:

    Photograph

  • Place of origin:

    London (Photographed)

  • Date:

    1960s (Photographed)
    2011 (printed)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Barnor, James, born 1929 (Photographer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Gelatin silver print

  • Credit Line:

    Supported by the National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund.

  • Museum number:

    E.102-2012

  • Gallery location:

    Prints & Drawings Study Room, room 514, case R2, shelf SH2, box SP3

Born in 1929, Ghanaian photographer James Barnor documented the shift towards modern living as experienced by black people in both Africa and Britain. Barnor first moved to London in 1959, and his reportage of the capital during the 1960s records the emergence of a modern, multicultural city. The outfits worn by two wedding guests combine Western and traditional West African fashions into a global 1960s style. The leafy backdrop and telephone box locate this multicultural scene on British streets.

The V&A acquired five photographs by James Barnor as part of the Staying Power project. Staying Power is a five year partnership between the V&A and Black Cultural Archives. The project aims to explore black British experience from the 1950s to the 1990s through photographs acquired by the V&A and oral histories conducted by Black Cultural Archives.

Physical description

Black and white photograph depicting two women standing on a path in a park in front of a traditional red British telephone box wearing smart clothing. The woman on the left wears patterned heels which match her bag and a white dress with embroidered flowers around the shoulders and a full, fifties skirt. She has a large white flower in her hair and looks straight at the camera, smiling. The woman on the right of the image wears a longer, patterned dress with wide 3/4 sleeves and has a large bouffant hairstyle, she looks out of frame to the right of the image. Both women are stood with one foot slightly in front of the other, tilted showing off the shoes.

Place of Origin

London (Photographed)

Date

1960s (Photographed)
2011 (printed)

Artist/maker

Barnor, James, born 1929 (Photographer)

Materials and Techniques

Gelatin silver print

Marks and inscriptions

Signed 'James Barnor 1960s/2011' at bottom right of the image and 'ED 2/10' on verso, lower right.

Dimensions

Height: 280 mm Image size, Width: 278 mm Image size

Object history note

The V&A acquired this photograph as part of the Staying Power project. Staying Power is a five year partnership between the V&A and Black Cultural Archives. The project aims to explore black British experience from the 1950s to the 1990s through photographs acquired by the V&A and oral histories conducted by Black Cultural Archives.

Descriptive line

Photograph by James Barnor, 'Wedding Guests in London', gelatin silver print, London, 1960s, printed 2011, ed. 2/10

Labels and date

Text label for the exhibition, 'Staying Power: Photographs of Black British Experience, 1950s-1990s
16 February – 24 May 2015

James Barnor (born 1929)
Everything in My Hand I Bring, 1953
Selina Opong, Policewoman #10, 1954
Wedding Guests in London, 1960 – 69
Eva, London, 1960

Barnor set up a photography studio in Accra in Ghana
in 1947. Although intended as personal mementos for
the sitters, his studio photographs also record changes
in Ghanaian society in the 1950s and ’60s. Policewoman
Selina Opong, who poses in one of the photographs, was
one of the first female police officers to graduate from the
newly established police academy in Accra. Barnor later
moved to London, where his reportage work for magazines
showed the emergence of a modern, multicultural city.

Gelatin silver prints (printed 2011)
Museum nos. E.102, 104 to 106-2012 [16/02/2015-24/05/2015]

Materials

Photograph

Techniques

Gelatin silver process

Subjects depicted

Wedding; Telephone Box

Categories

Hair and hairstyles; Women's clothes; Marriage; African Diaspora; Fashion; Europeana Fashion Project

Production Type

Limited edition

Collection

Prints, Drawings & Paintings Collection

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