With a career that spans six decades, it is a travesty that for most of his career his work was not widely known. In his street and studio photography he represents societies in transition: Ghana moving toward Independence, and London becoming a multicultural metropolis. Moreover the legendary James Barnor is credited with introducing colour processing to Ghana!
His photographs have been collated by the London-based charity Autograph ABP during a four-year project funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and in 2011 became part of the new Archive and the Research Centre for Culturally Diverse Photography. In 2011, Mr Barnor was honoured with a GUBA (Ghana UK-Based Achievement) special “Lifetime Achievement” award. On receiving it, he revealed that it was the first award he had ever been given.
Barnor had work included in the show Another London: International Photographers Capture London Life 1930–1980 at Tate Britain in August 2012, with his 1967 photograph of BBC World Service reporter “Mike Eghan at Piccadilly Circus, London” featuring on the cover of the catalogue. His photographs are represented in the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Tate and Government Art Collection in the UK, as well as in numerous international private collections. A true pioneer and living legend, Mr Barnor’s knowledge of Ghana’s past and his enthusiasm for its future makes him an exemplary patron.