Updated: Oct 16, 2022
A picture has power because it helps us revisit a time when emotions were beautifully displayed. People connect with images, and they reveal how life used to be before the present.
Photography allows you to express yourself. Photography can motivate you to explore, enjoy life, and cherish the little things. It helps you become more conscious of the small things in life. One photographer who captures moments in their purest form is Sandra Serwah Siaw.
Sandra Serwah Siaw is a Ghanaian photographer who produces dynamic images that tell stories about the people she encounters. She started photography early due to the circumstances surrounding her childhood and has fallen in love with it. Photography is not only a thing of passion for Serwah, but it is also her life.
After picking up the camera at age 10, Serwah hasn’t let go of it since. This has birthed an admirable photographer whose father remains her source of inspiration.
Here’s how our interview with her went:
Q: what was it like growing up?
ANS: I attended primary and junior high school at great Kwame Nkrumah School. I completed my secondary school at labone senior high. I had to fund myself through school due to financial issues. Life in photography has not been easy; passion and vision drive me each time I wake up.
Q: At what age did you first take up the camera, and what was it like? Was it a fascinating experience?
ANS: I held a camera at the age of 10 due to a circumstance that happened at dad’s shop where a client arrived in dad’s absence for a passport picture. I had to take up the camera and get ready to take a shot at this person. I remember using a plastic chair to stand on to get the required height to take the picture. Motivation from my dad made me pursue photography as a career at a tender age. This enabled me to learn in-depth about photography, including editing and printing pictures.
Q: What is photography to you? And how would you describe your photography style?
ANS: Photography is life to me. In terms of income and emotional attributes. It puts me in my place of peace and joy. It allows me to interpret how I see the world using my gift as an inspiration. My style of photography is revolutionary and adds more meaning to our daily life activities such as Cultural activities, nature, lifestyle, fashion, and many more. My style of photography brings out the real emotions of stories to tell, and even through the pain, people can still afford a smile that warms hearts.
Q: What are the perks of being a woman in this industry?
ANS: Honestly, being a female photographer in Ghana is very difficult when it comes to the style of photography I pursue, and also, being a photography artist in Ghana is not well recognized, which doesn’t really bring income. I wish female photographers would be well recognized in our society.
Q: Why are children mostly your subjects? Any story to it?
ANS: The smile from a child depicts tomorrow. Growing up, I struggled with financial and family problems, which have somehow affected who I am today. Being around children especially knowing how I grew up, depicts hope due to the different stories you hear from them. Most of the children I meet are from poor homes, and hearing them tell you their dreams and what they wish to achieve is such a beautiful thing to hear.
Q: Where do you find your inspiration as a photographer?
ANS: I always look up to my dad and his career because of the passion and hard work he put into his photography business. I remember photography wasn’t a reputable job in Ghana as we see it today during his time. Still, my Dad enrolled me in one of the best schools and involved me in his business. This made me develop great love and passion for photography even though I get inspiration from other renowned photographers such as the late Bob Pixels, Aboya, and many more. My Dad has been a great inspiration, influencer, and teacher in my career.
Q: How would you describe your growth so far in photography?
ANS: My growth has been very steady, but I have still not maximized my full potential yet, which I am still working on. I believe the goals I have set for myself will be achieved in no time, and I am working hard every day to make sure I leave a legacy behind.
Q: If you could photograph one thing in the world for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
ANS: I would have loved to photograph or document the journey and life of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah concerning our fight for independence and regaining our freedom.
Q: Who is that photographer whose work you admire the most in the photography world?
ANS: The late Bob pixels and Aboya
Q: What's the best advice you've gotten on your journey, and how does it apply?
ANS: As a young female photographer, you need to be focused on your goal, be determined, stay humble, be ready to learn, and be ready to apply.