Africa’s largest photo library has opened in Ghana’s capital, Accra, showcasing the work of the continent and the forgotten, established and emerging diaspora talent.
Founded by Ghanaian photographer and filmmaker Paul Ninson, the Deccan Center houses more than 30,000 books that he has collected.
A photography studio and classroom, the first of its kind in Ghana, provides space for workshops, while the grant program appeals to African documentaries and visual artists.
Regular exhibitions will be held in the gallery spaces, the first of which is Ahennie, a series by the late Ghanaian documentary photographer Emmanuel Bobi (aka Bob Pixel), who passed away in 2021.
Opening with Ninson, whom he met while in New York, was Brandon Stanton, author of Humans of New York, a Bond broker-turned-photographer who started the crowdfunding campaign that led to the founding of Dikan contributed.
Alongside handouts from leading black photographers like Gordon Parks, who was the first African-American photographer to hold a position at Life magazine, and publications like National Geographic, there are rare books including one signed by Stephen Hill, governor of the Gold Coast, like Ghana before of Independence dates back to 1852.
Ninson attended the International Center School of Photography in New York when he began collecting photo books.
“I started buying African picture books to share with young photographers at home, but as my collection grew I realized I could build a photography and visual education library, so I started looking for booksellers . for donations. I’ve also received donations from private galleries and collectors,” says Ninson.
West Africa has a long history of photography, introduced by explorers and rulers in the early 1840s.