Picturing Ghana: Glenmont artist returns to Africa to start a photography school

A fundraiser is set for Friday, June 15, in Delmar to assist a Glenmont photographer in opening up a school of photography in Ghana.

The event, which will feature a West African buffet and the Liberian Unity Dancers, is from 6-8 p.m. at the Delmar Reformed Church at 386 Delaware Ave.

Carrie Brown of Glenmont, known as Adzo to her Ghanaian friends, will head off on her third odyssey to Ghana in July to start the Kekeli School of Photography in the country's coastal region of Woe.

"Kekeli" means daylight in Ewe, the dialect of the Volta Region.

"The vocational program will work with kids who can't afford to attend secondary school," said Brown, who said she has already seen Ghanian students selling their own portrait photography.

"They are really talented," said Brown. "I was very impressed."

The students use Olympus point-and-shoot, 35 mm cameras, while Brown uses single-lens-reflex film and digital cameras.

Brown's first trip to the area, in 2002, was a six-month internship that was part of her study at the Savannah College of Art.

"Ghana is very different," said Brown. "The people there are very welcoming so I instantly felt like I was home."

On that trip, Brown worked with many schools and several children, helping them photograph important community events. She returned in 2003 on a second journey after finishing her master's degree to begin an after-school photography pilot program in the schools. The First Reformed Church of Bethlehem helped Brown raise money for her second trip.

"It was so successful, and the community I lived in was so excited about the project that a local paramount chief held a photography exhibition at his house," Brown said.

The chief, Togbe Addo, was the one who first posed the idea of starting a photography school.

Brown self-published a book of photos from that trip titled "Born on a Monday."

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