White Gold by Adrian Morris – The Shifting Salts of Songor Lagoon

White Gold by Adrian Morris. A photo story from the salt mines of Ghana in West Africa and a conversation with the ever curious wandering photographer, Adrian Morris.

Adrian Morris   |   GHANA


 

The Songor Lagoon is located on the eastern coast of Ghana, West Africa. Experts say that the area has the greatest potential for large-scale salt production in West Africa for export and industrial use. However, the local people have been fighting to maintain their sustainable and traditional harvesting methods and hold on to their land that has been passed down to them from their ancestors for centuries.

Modernisation, population pressure and greed from larger companies and private owners have created a threat to their land as well as social and environmental issues. Salt has been a major item of trade especially for the people of West Africa for longer than history can recall and is the main source of income for many local tribes in the area.
This series of photos is the result of an afternoon spent in Songor Lagoon and is a look into the traditional and sustainable working methods of the local people and their way of life during a time of ongoing pressure from the modern world.

 

Adrian Morris

Adrian Morris

 

Gobe:

How are you Adrian? Where are you writing me from and what’s happening in your world right now?

 

Adrian Morris:

I’m Great… I am back in Australia visiting family and friends taking in an extra dose of nature, warm sunshine and surf before heading back to the end of a European winter.

 

Gobe:

What gets you up in the morning and what is the first thing you do?

 

Adrian Morris:

Ideally, a good breakfast, coffee and a swim or a surf although that doesn’t happen every day.

 

Gobe:

When did you start making photos, was there an initial reason or inspiration?

 

Adrian Morris:

I started taking photos about 9 years ago now on my travels through India I remember taking a little Pentax film camera and loved the challenge of having a tool to capture and portray the things around me.

 

Adrian Morris

 

Gobe:

Your series, White Gold, was shot in Ghana, what piqued your interest to travel there? Were you already aware of the issues you would explore in your work at Songor Lagoon?

 

Adrian Morris:

I was interested in exploring more of that coast of Africa as I did a trip to Senegal a year or so before. I did research into a few countries and Ghana stood out to me as a really diverse and interesting country to explore. I read about Songor Lagoon but was not planning to spend any time there however another story I was shooting ended up being very close and I kind of fell into the opportunity to spend time there by accident. It was great to spend some time there and document and learn about the issues going on in the village and the lagoon.

 

 

“I think photography is a really powerful tool. It is a strong and effective way to connect a story, an emotion or to just educate people on things they have not experienced themselves and that is really valuable in pushing a social change.”

 

 

Gobe:

Do you believe that photography has the power to effect social change?

 

Adrian Morris:

Of course, I think photography is a really powerful tool. It is a strong and effective way to connect a story, an emotion or to just educate people on things they have not experienced themselves and that is really valuable in pushing a social change.

 

Gobe:

You have returned to Ghana since and made a short film, Mamishie, which is wonderful by the way, are you looking to make more video works?

 

Adrian Morris:

I am not sure, that was really just an experiment to see if I was capable of making something like that. I had no idea what I was doing or how to edit video so it was very challenging, I did really enjoy filming the story and I feel it was a nice way to capture that particular story. I would maybe do it again if someone else helped me edit it after haha

 

Adrian Morris

Adrian Morris

 

“I am looking to portray the magic or the authenticity of a place, I look for things that make me feel something in hope that I can portray those same emotions I feel in those moments with other people.”

 

Gobe:

When you’re making photographs as a visitor in foreign lands, what are you looking to portray?

 

Adrian Morris:

I am looking to portray the magic or the authenticity of a place, I look for things that make me feel something in hope that I can portray those same emotions I feel in those moments with other people.

 

Gobe:

You have a background in graphic design, how has this influenced your photography practice?

 

Adrian Morris:

It definitely has influenced the way I compose a photo and my use of colours, objects and light. It is really important to me that the composition of colours and objects in the photo fit together, in the same way, I would design or paint something.

 

Gobe:

Who or what are some of your inspirations?

 

Adrian Morris:

I find inspiration in all sorts of things… People, nature, interesting cultures, light, architecture, shapes, shadows, colours.
The people I have looked at for inspiration are great photographers like Saul Leiter, Rene Burri, Harry Gruyeart, Alex Webb, David Alan Harvey, Ernst Haas etc.

 

Adrian Morris

Adrian Morris

 

Gobe:

If you couldn’t be a photographer (or videographer) what would you do?

 

Adrian Morris:

Graphic Design or Painting or something like that, I would still like to continue doing those things.

 

Gobe:

What cameras and gear/tools are you enjoying using at the moment?

 

Adrian Morris:

I have just been using the Fujifilm X series cameras since I started shooting digital a few years ago and have really loved using them.

 

Gobe:

Do you always have a camera with you?

 

Adrian Morris:

Not really but I should!

 

Adrian Morris

Adrian Morris

Adrian Morris

 

Gobe:

What’s the last film you watched that left a lasting impression on you?

 

Adrian Morris:

Climax by Gaspar Noe … but it was a very unsettling impression ( crazy dark movie )

 

Gobe:

What personal projects can we look forward to from you next, what are you enjoying exploring at the moment?

 

Adrian Morris:

I just signed with an agency in Germany so I am hoping to start working on a lot of new projects with them including personal ones and hoping to experiment and work on new types of projects that I have never done before. My next project will be in Greece in a few weeks time shooting something with Suitcase Magazine I am sure it will be great.

 

 


 

Adrian Morris

 

NAME

Adrian Morris

 

adrianmorris.co
@adrianmorris.co

 

HOMEBASE

Barcelona

 

Adrian Morris is a photographer and explorer who is currently based in Barcelona, Spain. He is represented by TAKE Agency in Europe and has been published in many publications in Conde Nast Traveller, BBC and Hemispheres Magazine.

 


 

For more conversations with photographers who we admire, click your way on over here.