By: Francis Kokoroko, Cooper Inveen on Reuters.com
(Reuters) - A generation before the Gold Coast became Ghana, local photographer J.K. Bruce-Vanderpuije opened a small studio in the then-colonial capital Accra, where his family would become the de facto visual historians of a nation that had not yet been born.
Above: Portraits from Ghana's Colonial era are displayed at the Deo Gratias Photo Studio, Ghana's oldest photography studio still operating in Jamestown, Accra, Ghana July 14, 2022 REUTERS/Francis Kokoroko NO RESALES NO ARCHIVES
For 100 years, three generations of Bruce-Vanderpuijes have painstakingly amassed the world’s largest collection of 20th century Ghanaian photographs under one roof. They believe their Deo Gratias photo studio is the oldest in West Africa.
From glass plates to digital files of nation-shaping events to intimate personal portraits, the family’s 50,000-image archive offers a unique glimpse into Accra’s transition from a colonial port into a bustling modern metropolis.
Above: Studio assistants set up for a portrait session at the Deo Gratias Studio, Ghana's oldest photography studio still operating in Jamestown, Accra, Ghana July 14,2022. REUTERS/ Francis Kokoroko
“The story they tell is that of [Ghana’s] history,” said Kate Tamakloe, Bruce-Vanderpuije’s granddaughter and keeper of the modern archive. “Without a history you have no future.”
Virtually unchanged since opening in 1922, Deo Gratias sits on a busy street in the heart of Jamestown, the capital’s oldest district. Grainy archive photos reveal the area was once much quieter, before traffic and billboards clogged the streets.....
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