Yaw Pare is a Ghanaian traveler and photographer changing the Ghanaian narrative through his lens.
Unknown to many, the gentleman who is celebrated for his photography has no training in photography. Everything he knows has been self-taught.
"Well you wouldn't consider me as a Ghanaian photographer…I am a capturer. Let me rephrase it...A capturer of Ghana because I still don't know half of the settings on my camera,” he confessed.
A born artist, Yaw painted in various mediums with pencil, charcoal, oil/watercolour and stippling till he found photography. According to him, he felt it was quite time-consuming and changed his art to capture images when he moved to Ghana. According to Mr Pare who is an adventurous globetrotter he first started shooting Ghana in 2010 after living in the United States for close to 16 years.
"When I was away from Ghana there weren't any pictures that really made Ghana appealing to me to invest or even return it was sad,” said Yaw when we spoke to him about why he started this style of photography.
"My dad being a former footballer for the Black Stars and Dr Kwame Nkrumah's Real Republican Team, he had stacks of pics he had documented and I found it intriguing ... he is till date one of the best record keepers I have come across and he has beautiful handwriting I guess part of the reason.”
Yaw shared his travels and experiences religiously on his personal Facebook page and a Facebook group he's named Random Ghana Pictures which has become sort of his digital journal with over 31,000 members who keenly follow and interact with him about his adventures and perspectives.
Aside the photos of places, food, and clothes that express the beautiful Ghanaian culture and identity, he educates his fans on the history and other important facts of the images.
Ghanaians in the diaspora and other afro-Americans who have a connection to the country continue to speak about the kaleidoscopic nature of his works having drawn inspiration from them. The beauty of Ghana is captured on his polaroid starting from escarpments of Gambaga to the coastlines of Accra in the south down to Wiawso in the West and Keta in the East.
The photographer who wears several hats as a father, co-founder & COO at Access Accra, an app guide dedicated to tourist and locals alike on the most exciting and undiscovered locations in Ghana's capital of Accra and CEO & founder of consulting company, Gold Coast Consulting Group LLC is passionate about Ghana's tourism and the general attitude of Ghanaians to sanitation around landmarks in the country.
On the issue of poor patronage among Ghanaians, he shared some very strong words with us on the matter.
"I feel there is great potential but the reality of it is sad. When you consider the fact that tourism is a major contributing factor to our GDP but it's been sidelined you feel sad and appalled. Monies collected from tourism end up going into other things which are not related and in ways that are not reinvesting into the industry to see it grow. The 1% levies collection from hotels and restaurants in 2010 alone was $2.5 billion dollars but you go to the tourism sites and they’re in abhorrent conditions. Look at our pavement and medians on the roads, they’re so unkempt. It's easy to fix this … Simply don't litter, rather let's keep our environs clean,” Yaw remarked.
Most folks first noticed Yaw Pare's art when his photos of the Airport City in the past and current state went viral.
"I have had some moments of excitement. Once a couple of pictures goes viral and the testimonials people give about how my photography has affected them in a positive way. Those are the priceless moments I cherish."
Yaw is not only changing the way we see Ghana but most of all he is connecting people together through photos of what it means to be Ghanaian.