Carlos Idun-Tawiah on breathing life into the past

The photographer weaves reality and fiction in his work until the two become blurred. Here, he talks to us about his process and maintaining creative integrity in commercial projects

“Isn’t it interesting?” says Carlos Idun-Tawiah. “Forms like poetry, painting, and even film are given room for fiction. But then photography has sort of been caged to a real-life documentation of what is, where we are not able to speak about what could be or what could have been.”

Through his carefully staged images, the Accra-based photographer and director taps into the hidden recesses of individual and collective memory. His tender series Boys Will Always Be Boys shows men of all ages forming bonds – even if unspoken – in the barbershop, the classroom, or the boxing gym.

Elsewhere, Sunday Special, a more autobiographical body of work, mirrors his own family albums filled with photos of him and his loved ones at church. Although the shoots are pre-planned, his scenes feel naturalistic, even familiar, and that’s exactly the point.