“ I wasn’t forced to be a creative, it just happened. I think it was a Calling…”
– Prince Gyasi
What is God’s purpose for me? This is a question asked by many. But, very few allow themselves to be enlightened to become their true self. We all strive for that feeling of wholeness and the desire to make an impact on the lives of others is a worthwhile thing to do. On the brink of technological revolution, creatives especially photographers are breaking down cultural barriers with their unique storytelling through the Art of Photography. One such photographer that produces thought-provoking images is Prince Gyasi Nyantakyi.
“ I think outside of the box. Sometimes you have to be a daredevil and take risks when you are creative. Even though I am a shy guy, Prince Gyasi wants to make an impact and inspire people especially the youth. He wants to make a difference. I see my talents as a gift and, I want to extend that gift onto people because it can be a blessing to them” – Prince Jyesi
He is known by many as Prince Jyesi, and he tends to leave an imprint on the viewer’s mind, heart, and soul. A Photographer with a message, he is for the voices that cannot be heard. We see their stories through the brilliant images that he captures. Prince Gyasi resides in McCharthy Hill Accra and his hometown was Kwahu in the Eastern region of Ghana. He is also the grandson of famous musician and actor S.K Oppong. Gyasi will become a legend and a role model for Ghanaians generation Y & Z through the Art of Photography.
“ My grandfather was a high life legend. At a young age, he tried to teach me how to play the guitar and when he died I was so sad. I think my childhood memories are embedded into a legacy of creativity. I’ve been a storyteller, photographer, and creative director professionally for over two years now. I think everything around me is just ingenious. My parents inspire me with their music, and I never forget God. God is the true artist, look at the world, look around you and you’ll find that the supreme being is the greatest at creation. And, if you recognized that, then it is going to reflect in your work.”- Prince Jyesi
Growing up, Gyasi was surrounded by gifted visionaries in the music and fashion industry. Both his parents are popular gospel singers and songwriters in Ghana. His mother is also a fashion designer giving fresh takes on everything trendy. Putting fear and doubt aside, he is conquering the creative world. With his interesting compositions, focal points, color depths and dynamic patterns and textures, he triggers thoughts, emotions, and challenges the mirror of the mind. Being a conceptual photographer is his destiny, through this medium he portrays remarkable portraits and abstracts of unrealized dreams and, the persistent hope of his community to foster significant changes.
“ God influences my art when it comes to creating stories and concepts the Bible gives me a lot of ideas to put things together. I see the world differently from other people, I see the world as a God-given time for us to make an impact on the earth. And, to get the opportunity to influence people and to glorify the name of God is what I live for.” – Prince Jyesi
Prince Gyasi Nyantakyi is a very spiritual photographer, he even fasts before making a post of his eccentric photographs on Instagram. Prince Gyasi uses this platform mostly to share the stories of the many faces of Africa in his photographic series namely Control Series, Generational Victors Series 11- Watch the Seeds and The Arrangement series and most currently Phases Series – (Survivor), Victory has a hundred Fathers but Defeat is an Orphan! Care/Love Series – 4 (Burden) and, Grace’s position series.
“ We are still mentally enslaved and suffer from self-doubts, depression and inferiority especially in the Black community. But, the one thing that I want people to take from my work is ‘you can control every single negativity around you and be happy’.
My series of photographs always have a message. My favorite series is called Control, it speaks about mental slavery, how you can control your life and other important things such as your energy. Knowing that energy is contagious, I make sure that I paint the picture out as clear as possible through the lens of my camera. I believe the ideas don’t just come, they come from God himself. I can’t do things on my own and that is why at times many artists fail and get into depression. You can’t do things on your own, its God’s plan like what Drake said ” – Prince Jyesi
Prince Gyasi’s photographs have also been featured in the popular magazines of Suitcase and VSCO. Apple has also shown interest in his work and, on numerous occasions, his images can be seen on their Instagram page. Why? Prince Gyasi uses only an iPhone to capture his captivating series.
He first started with a Blackberry in his early youth. But, when the technology advanced for mobile users, Gyasi became intrigued with iPhone mobile photography. He started to experiment with his self-taught skills with his range of iPhones from 5C, 4S and recently SE. He has also managed to pique the interest of major brands. In 2017, on the soils of Accra Ghana, Prince Gyasi contributed to a project as a creative director for PUMA and fashion label Daily Paper collaboration for an Autumn- Winter ’17 collection inspired by African Football designs. They celebrated the 20th anniversary of their ongoing partnership with African Football.
“If you look at my pictures some of them are like paintings; my images are unique. I want to be a very influential person in the society, so with my skills and passion for photography, I can be. I remember when I met this kid and I asked him to spell his name. Yet, he couldn’t spell it and, that really touched my heart because that means he has never been to school. All he knew was how to mention it. For a kid like that, growing up, he will become more ignorant of things. He doesn’t even know what Instagram is or what an iPhone is, I find that to be really sad. So, a group of four of us including myself started Boxed Kids. We started with children from Jamestown, they are fishermen at a very young age as early as 10 years old. I have met 17 – 19 years old teens who haven’t been to school in a very long time because they dropped out. In Ghana, when you pass a certain age you can’t get back into the system. We want to help them get an education.” – Prince Jyesi
To be an influencer, you must believe in the people around you whether big or small. Gyasi has dedicated himself to help unprivileged kids. He established a project with his friends called Boxed Kids. It’s a new foundation aimed to raise funds for vulnerable kids in an old town called Jamestown; a small fisherman district in Accra, Ghana. The foundation has it’s own riveting series and never disappoints to convey messages to the viewers through powerful images. With the help of Boxed Kids foundation, the children will have a chance to pursue their dreams and get a quality education with funds geared from a go fund me that was organized by its founders. After paying keen attention to their creativeness, he noticed that most kids did not recognize their innate talents. The founders decided to take photographs of a few kids in their city and the conditions in which they lived in. The images are shared on Instagram to raise awareness about the children in Jamestown.
“ There are so many challenges in this industry. But, there are moments worthy of living for. I remember there was a time when someone told me that they cried when they saw my pictures, I was touched and amazed because that means it tells a story. I love being able to shoot with an iPhone and compete with people using a camera.
When I print the pictures and realize that I really did a good job, it is the best feeling in the world. Some of my proudest moments are when Apple reposted my pictures on Instagram, Ava Duvernay followed me on Instagram, meeting and working with my mentor Joshua Kissi, working with Michaela Cole and getting featured by AfroPunk. I am still learning even with the sudden success that I’ve made.” – Prince Jyesi
Wow, so many great things happening for Prince Gyesi and there is no stopping his groove anytime soon. Photography has completely changed his life and inspired others simultaneously.
He is constantly actively exploring the world around him whilst mastering his techniques. People from all walks of life are hooked to his photography. When it comes to jaw-dropping photographs, Prince Jyesi will deliver. He describes success as ‘its not about money, it’s you being able to complete your goals’. With the All-Loving and All-Powerful Light from God, in the next five years, he will be dubbed one of the greatest mobile photographers to ever grace the land of Ghana. Prince Gyasi will bring mobile photography to the next level of evolution. The world anticipates an epic Jyesi and Boxed Kids art tours and exhibitions.
Advice to other creatives
“ The best advise that I can give to other creatives is, be passionate about what you do. Don’t be scared, just do it. When you have any ideas that pop into your head, go through it first before you actually execute it. When your about to do a shoot, be patient and know that photography is not a competition. If you see it as a competitor, then you will always fail and that’s one thing I realize. Everybody’s path to success is different, be in your own lane and don’t try to do what others are doing because that might not be your path. And, don’t try to live for people’s acceptance, because when you do you die from their rejections. For storytellers, always make sure you have good content that we as human beings can relate to. Your story will have an impact on people’s lives. Be positive and your good to go.” – Prince Jyesi
“ Everyone has a story to tell, its the voice that we choose to speak it, will determine how the world will receive and perceive it” – Zhaneirie