Nana Ankamah

nana_ankamah_photographer

Houston, Texas

How did you get your start with photography?

I got my first camera in the spring of 2015 that I still use today, my Nikon D3200. That's when everything started for me. I've always had a fascination with photography growing up because my family was never really big picture takers. It was almost like a sacred thing that is the camera in our household. Growing up playing sports and interest in fashion, I've always loved sports photos and Harper's Bazaar magazines.

How would you describe your photography style?

My style, that's a tough one to answer. When I first started taking pictures, I was really into nature type stuff like sunrises, sunsets, fall foliage. I lived in Nacogdoches for five years attending college out there so being out there in East Texas was excellent for those things aforementioned and for that I will always have a spot in my heart for Nacogdoches. Now I am really into minimalism or at least trying to transition to minimalism. I'm also big on keeping my pictures as straight as possible.

Where do you draw inspiration for your photos?

A lot of times inspiration for me comes from music. I'll listen to a song and hear a lyric, and it will inspire to go out and take the pictures from what I hear. The music ranges from Kanye to Sam Smith to whatever I am listening to at the time. My girlfriend Karina has also been a big inspiration for me is well. I love taking pictures of her, forever my favorite muse.

On memorable projects:

I just started a hashtag called #MeDɔByNana Me Dɔ in the Twi language which is native to Ghana in West Africa means my love. It's just me capturing black love in all forms, so it is something I am excited about as the year moves along. I also plan on making a book out of the pictures at the end of the year.

What other photographers have influenced you the most? How has their influenced shaped your craft?

Some photographers that stick out to me are Temi Coker (@Temi.Coker) who I had the chance to meet and hang out with for an afternoon. He's a really good dude and of course amazing photographer. Rosebeth Akharamen (@isi.rose), who I went to college and worked with a few times. I've seen her grow as a photographer. Faidat Bakare (@riotmuse) another photographer I went to college and worked with, and have seen her grow so much as a photographer as well. I chose these three because we all share African heritage, and growing up in our culture your talents in arts are never respected by your family, who I feel can be your biggest support and make a big difference in your craft. If you know they back you, if it's not a doctor or lawyer then you are wasting your time. So it's refreshing to see so many creative fellow Africans out there breaking out their shells and showing their artistic side better yet making careers out of it. One other photographer, I want to mention is Farran Manuel I can't mention photographer influence and not mention her (@farranmanuel) she does a little bit of everything and takes amazing travel photos. Her work along with the three aforementioned make me want to get better with this craft each and every day.

What is your personal process to capture a great photo?

For me, it's using a rule of imaginary thirds in my in my mind to make sure I fit everything that I want in my picture. Making sure the angle or perspective is unique as well.

What’s your favorite lens to use?

My go to lens, for now, is my 50mm. I got it as a gift for my 26th bday from my brother and have been in love with it ever since. I love the Bokeh capability and the clarity of the focus. It works well in low lighting situations as well so I love that.

What are some of the challenges you have faced as a photographer?

When I sat down with Temi, we talked about how numbers can be an issue, worrying about likes, etc., etc. when you are starting out. For me also working as a 9th-grade teacher and basketball coach just simply finding the time to go out and have time with my camera can be a challenge.

On upcoming projects:

I am thinking about starting another hashtag called #PlaygroundEarthbyNana which would pretty be a fitness concept and just shooting people working out around town. Kind of similar to Nike photos which I love being a former Nike employee. Much love to the Swoosh.

What motto or affirmation do you live your life by?

To infinity and beyond.

For more on this artist, please visit VSCO.co/Nanye and follow on social media at @nana.jpeg