Sackitey Tesa Mate-Kodjo is an Accra-based photographer, stylist, and art-director known for his dreamy portraits of stylish subjects. A member of the successful group of young creative professionals from the West African country working at the intersection of fashion photography and art, Tesa has been featured recently in Vogue Italia.
His bio from Vogue reads:
His love for photography goes back years to when he was a child of eight (8) years. He would play with his father’s vintage Pentax camera when he was away. The viewfinder always kept him amazed at the world, at how things looked that particular moment all at the choosing of the one holding the camera. From birds flying in the distance, to the wares carried by hawkers, to birds perched on coconut trees which are prevalent in areas close to the sea where he lived; Mamprobi to be exact.
Tesa’s playful works express his love of the surreal and thrifting approach to art-making. He uses plastic items and fabric to create volumes that alter his subjects’ silhouettes, whom he places against backgrounds of lush nature, or, alternatively, architectural elements like doors, low walls, etc. In an interview for the photo app Vsco, he states that he tries to pay attention to context and use what he finds around himself to create unique styles that comment on issues in Ghanaian society and the world at large.
The focus on the shape of bodies and objects calls attention to the surface of the scene and to the forms that create the visual narrative. Context becomes a springboard to travel to a whimsical elsewhere “not of this Earth”, to cite the name of one of his projects. Tesa’s imagination expands reality and re-designs it to accommodate fantasies of becoming that include gender fluid and post-human identities.
Doubling – photographing two models wearing the same styles – is a recurring theme that recalls the work of the Nigerian photographer Stephen Tayo, who captured twins for one his projects “Ibeji”.
But while Tayo explores the psychology of twins and their place in society, Tesa seems to use the trope to further explore the iconoclastic potential of fashion photography in Africa and, in the process, inspire fellow artists to have confidence in their work.
Visit Tesa’s IG profile @sackiteytesa and on VSCO