Life through an iPhone lens

Ghanaian visual artist Prince Gyasi creates striking, vivid imagery photographed with an iPhone. CR talks to him about his unconventional practice and how it helps local children get an education

Prince Gyasi’s hyper-saturated images are the kind that stop people in their tracks. His work, largely photographed in his home city of Accra in Ghana, centres on graphic compositions and enhanced hues that veer towards the fantastical. Perhaps most surprising is the fact that these vibrant images, which often leap out at people mid-scroll on a phone, are created using the same medium.

Gyasi’s use of an iPhone – and before that a Blackberry and a Pantech – was born out of practicality, allowing him to easily photograph his musician and rapper friends, and life surrounding him in Accra. “It was so easy to just create something, and I was just a high school boy who didn’t have that much money to get a camera at that moment,” he says. He believes his choice of camera also helped to distinguish him from other artists. “Even when I had money to buy a camera, which I did, the iPhone was still something I felt was a bit unique at that time. Everybody was just doing the same thing.”

Gyasi needn’t have worried, since there is no mistaking his work. He seeks out colour in the spaces around him, which he then intensifies to create remarkable combinations of hues. His striking framing and use of colour has earned him commissions from Apple, in the form of 2018’s A Great Day in Accra, spotlighting the local Hiplife music scene, and more recently GQ for its cover story featuring Lagos star Burna Boy earlier this year – all by the age of 23.