In a space where beauty meets the eye, Austrian-Ghanaian photographer Eric Asamoah unveils his perspective of the world through a collection of breathtaking captures titled ‘The Day After Tomorrow’.
Throughout his work, Eric explores the different stages in life of a young man, while magnifying his male subjects in their most intimate hours. For want of a greater understanding, we sat down with the Linz-based photographer to discuss his upbringing, creative process and plans for the future.
Who is Eric Asamoah?
Eric Asamoah for me has always been a photographer, an observer, a storyteller who works in multifaceted fields of photography.
And where would you say you’re from?
I was born and raised in a city named Linz in Upper Austria. However, my family is originally from Kumasi in Ghana, West Africa.
As of late, your work has drawn more and more attention from art enthusiasts across all socials who are intrigued with your choice of expression. When did you decide to pick up a camera and start taking photographs?
My entire youth was devoted to photography. I enjoyed looking at iconic images, photo books, magazines, and reading about photographers and their work, but nothing provided me more knowledge and insight than going out into the world with a camera in hand and seeing what life had to give.
First and foremost, I placed a high priority on creating a visual language with a simple yet purposeful vocabulary. I like to find ways to communicate with my images and move people; I realise this through my worldview and the way I see and understand subjects and emotions. When I look back, I am so grateful that I discovered photography in my early youth, an enrichment that continues to inspire me and my surroundings to this day and beyond.
You recently debuted the photo series ‘The Day After Tomorrow’ which was captured in your home country of Ghana. How would you describe the experience? Was it your first time over there?
The last time I visited Ghana before ‘The Day After Tomorrow’, I was just a teenager around the age of 13, and it shaped my perspective on life and myself. The realisation that I had was: once you understand your roots, you eventually develop comfort understanding yourself. That belief has followed me ever since. It was crucial for me to return as a young adult - I was 21, coming of age, finally dedicated myself to photography for a living, and wanted to see me putting myself within an environment that enriches me while doing something that I truly adore, and it eventually became one of my most profound experiences to-date.
Starting a new journey can be exciting, but stepping up to something you don’t know, and leaving the past behind can be frightening for some people – young adults who are in the coming-of-age journey are included. Once you understand the journey, you begin to operate differently as a person and start to question your surroundings, past beliefs, dreams and yourself. You begin to seek the truth, be vulnerable and honest about yourself and slowly find your true colours. This is a beautiful and complex process to appreciate and to enjoy it will not always be rosy and peachy, but at the end of the day, you’ll find peace during the process – if not today, if not tomorrow, then eventually the day after tomorrow.
There is this undeniable connection between the use of the colour blue and your male subjects being surrounded by nature throughout the series. What do these different elements mean to you?
As mentioned earlier, I enjoy finding myself in an environment that enriches me; similarly, I believe that capturing my subjects in such environments as the beach or the forest feels genuine. These are places that provide comfort and remind people of their leisure. I could stare at the sea for hours and still be amazed by its beautiful yet powerful force. Moreover, the colour blue happens to be my favourite colour and so, I couldn’t resist.
To get a glimpse of your day to day life: What are some of the challenges you face as a black artist in a dominating non-black population?
Sometimes, I have a feeling that I’m expected to overachieve rather than to be equally seen as my non-black peers, but regardless of the situation or landscape, my aim is not to be bothered by any politics – doing great work is what I’m focused on, great work that means something to me and my surroundings, everything else is secondary to me.
I’m curious, how do you think your creative contribution has influenced your surroundings?
It’s an intimate act to show my personal view of the world to an audience – I’m curious too, photography is such an opinion based sport, Everybody sees, feels and digests your work differently, which is a beautiful thing, because this forces dialogues between people, and encourages new ideas and approaches.
After the release of my debut monograph, there was huge positive feedback from photography enthusiasts to art critics overseas. It showed me that people care about work that makes them feel something and that’s good to know.
Let me follow up with this; How important do you think it is to have different narratives in art?
It is necessary. I think that without different narratives, art could not be a universal service for society. The reason people consume art is because of inspiration and education, to see a world they have never thought of before, to reflect and wonder, to produce more questions than answers.
Like I said, dialogues are the driving force behind new ideas and approaches, and I see the importance to open the gate to new and different narratives, to increase the intensity of these dialogues, to redesign the standard, to make room for improvement and broadening the understanding of the audience and the public.
Linz is your work space however, could you see yourself operating as a photographer outside of Austria in the following years?
I’m privileged to say that I feel comfortable everywhere I travel to and so, I can see myself anywhere in the world in the following years.
In closing, what is the next chapter for Eric Asamoah? And where can our readers find your work?
This year, I worked a lot on projects that are going to be available soon. One of them is my very first solo exhibition at the Francisco Carolinum museum in Linz in May 2023.
To view and purchase Eric’s latest monograph, click here.