Pauline Destree (UCL) - 2014-15 Students

The transnational circulation of wedding imagery in Ghana

My research looks at popular image practices in Ghana, more specifically the transnational circulation of wedding photographs and videos between Accra and London. I situate contemporary practices within the historical trajectory of photography in West Africa as a collective, individual and institutional performative medium of political, social and cultural negotiation. I am especially interested in the ‘inter-medial’ dimension of photography as characteristic of West African image practices, in which the social and aesthetic porosity of media make the visual field a potent creative and performative social foil. My fieldwork in Ghana will look at the social role of images in contexts of migration and mobility, through the particular case of weddings in absentia in Accra, in which photographs, videos, or representative relatives effectively replace the absent (abroad) couple during the wedding ceremony, raising questions of material agency, personhood, civic and customary law, gender and performance.

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