Michael Aboya’s quest to become a professional photographer began with the loss of his father. When his father passed away in 2000, he began thinking about his mortality. He then realized he wanted to remain in the present, knowing that he fulfilled his passion.

Online, he is known as Aboya.8, Michael is currently a fashion and fine art photographer from Ghana, West Africa. His photographs examine humankind’s emotions, love, and power through innovative composition and lighting.

He was part of Photographer Without Borders as a guest on the Storytelling for Change series,, during which we discussed the path he took to become a photographer, what inspires his work,, and how he creates the distinctive compositions that define his career.

Are you willing to be transparent about your creativity process when making an image that resembles Songs of Freedom?

Most of the time, my creativity comes from my imagination. It’s the driving force of everything. The photo began as I was about to fall asleep, and “Redemption Song” went on the radio. While Bob Marley was playing a guitar, I could see myself playing a violin and others behind me holding their hands raised. I had that image because I was in a position that required me to free myself to pursue my learning journey and get to know myself better.

The following day, I took a trip out with a buddy who plays violin. We brought the kids together and showed them the basics of playing. And the kid who was in the middle was the most attractive and almost resembled the professional violinist. I instructed them precisely as I thought it was, and then we took pictures. I didn’t realize this was going to affect so many people. It helped me understand that images are powerful and have the potential to use your imagination.

We’ve talked about the importance for you to reflect the depth of your culture and individuals through your own lens. Could you explain something about why it’s crucial to you?

It’s crucial to tell our tales. We are aware of our culture, environment, and family. Therefore, we’re capable of telling the stories as they are. This helps to balance both the wrong and positive side. It isn’t possible to remove the negative side of things; however, you can find an equilibrium between them. Suppose people can look more at the positive stories and hope that they will have a brighter future and be aware that despite all the terrible things that happen, there’s an opportunity for children. There is hope for the future. There’s hope for each person.

To watch Michael Aboya’s webinar, sign up to the PWB community as a PWB member. As members, you’ll get access to every one of the “Storytelling for Change” sessions featuring notable photographers and storytellers worldwide.

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