Where have the guardians gone?

by December 13, 2010

A scene in Mali, photo by Nana Kofi Acquah

Guest post by Sandra Janus

Among other worthy endeavours, World Press Photo (in concert with Angola’s Banco Espirito Santo d’Angola) created a special photography exhibition for the United Nations Year of the Planet in 2008, an exhibition that has continued to tour into this year. “Save and Preserve the Planet” features five African photojournalists, whose work documents how everyday life in Angola is affected by the ripples of worldwide environmental degradation.

In an interview available here, one of the five photographers, Nana Kofi Acquah, reflects on mankind’s role: “I think by default, a human being is supposed to be the guardian of the planet. We are the only creatures empowered with the highest levels of intelligence to be able to save it, but we are too self-centered and too small-minded to realize this. We have big brains, but we are small-minded. I see the planet as an experiment gone wrong, a bomb about to go off. Can we act fast enough? Can we act today?”

Acquah’s own work documents everyday scenes of life across Africa. “In some ways I am a keen observer who doesn’t want to miss anything. It doesn’t need to be dramatic, ecstatic, or tragic to pique my interest. It must only be present and true. I am not afraid to photograph the mundane because I know posterity might appreciate it. In that sense, I think like a historian.”

For more striking photography, and more reflections on it, read Acquah’s blog here. His official website can be seen here.

Sandra Janus develops marketing strategy for SCOPE.