Boys to Men: Dreamy Photographs Exploring What It’s Like to Come of Age

Yoshiko Yap

“I went through this transition period when I was 18 or 19, when I had to figure out what to do with my life,” says photographer Eric Asamoah. “I had all these possibilities and all these options, but it was still a tough transition. Because it’s a tough transition for everyone when you have to go from being a boy to being a man.” This fascination with change and growth remained with the photographer as he grew up and began taking photographs. And this fascination forms the subject of the Austria-based Ghanian photographer’s new photo series, The Day After Tomorrow, which explores and documents a boy finding peace as he goes through the motions of growth.

To capture the subjects for this series as naturally as possible, Eric adapted his photography style, ditching his strobe lights and working exclusively with film. “I wanted to work with natural light for this series,” he says from his studio. “While shooting the series, I didn’t work with strobe lights and it was also my first time working with film for over four months. It was a pleasing experience because you are detached from those digital things and you can’t look at the pictures and want to change stuff because you can’t. With film, it’s more organic. You have to take the picture and make it a good picture and trust that it is a good picture and move on.”

As with many children of the diaspora, Asamoah’s parents raised him to know his roots and to take pride in his identity, so when he began to work on this photo series, shooting it in Ghana made the most sense to him. “I was sitting here last year, November, and I was constantly thinking about growth and change and transitions and reflecting on it and how my life and the lives of the people I have known have been affected by it. And I came to a decision that I have to photograph it. I have to find a way to communicate this through pictures. Then, I had this idea. I wanted to go to Ghana. I hadn’t been there since 2013. But I knew it was right. I was like, ‘hey, I have to go to Ghana and find people and photograph them and tell this story.’”

A series of 90 images, The Day After Tomorrow guides us through the process of young men finding themselves and finding peace in a tumultuous moment of their lives. “It’s important to take your time and take things slow and move at your own pace,” Asamoah says. “The photos in the series feature subjects that are very relaxed because they’re seeking and waiting because they know there is going to be a day when they will have the answers and have the peace. I want the audience, when they look at it, to allow themselves to be at their own pace, and know things are going to unfold beautifully at the end. It is OK to not know the answers yesterday or even answer today or tomorrow. Eventually, you’re going to know the answers even if it is the day after tomorrow.”

Eric is currently working on The Day After Tomorrow book with the design studio OrtnerSchinko. The book will be published by VFMK Verlag für moderne Kunst.

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