Top Image: “Self Portrait IV”
The journey of Felicia Abban began when she was 14 years old when she began apprenticing under her father. Her father owned a photo studio in Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana. There, she learned tricks of the trade for four years before she moved to Accra, where she eventually opened a studio of her own. In the beginning, she freelanced for the Guinea Press Limited while keeping her studio practice going.
As the first Ghanaian woman to become a professional photographer, she not only has her own portrait studio, but she was also the photographer of Ghana’s first president, Kwame Nkrumah. But Abban is often known for her studio portraiture. Of note is her series of self-portraits, often taken before she left for a function or party. Though Abban took these portraits as a way to promote her business, they have become a poignant look into the fashion and trends of Ghanaian women in the 1950s-70s. Other than her many accomplishments as a photographer, Abban’s studio also became one of the first studios to train women as photographers.