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The left image is from the Ghana Ministry of Information, the right from Getty Images. The Ministry identifies their image as G/1180/1, Getty identifies theirs as 50405305. The back of photo G/1180/1 bears a purple stamp stating Copyright  Photographic  Services,  Ministry  of Information,  PO  Box  745, Accra. All rights reserved….

Recently, while browsing the Getty Images website I realized that several historical photographs from Ghana that Getty Images had copyrighted, I had already seen at the archives of the Ghana Ministry of Information. The specific images claimed by both Ghana and Getty were not just any images but rather Ghana independence photos from March 6th, 1957 – documents of the first instance of liberation of sub-Saharan Africa from Western rule. Digging deeper, I uncovered a trail of errors (wrong dates, incorrect captions) and manipulation of original photographs, errors ranging from seemingly accidental to more deliberate. Getty vs. Ghana takes the overlapping images in both image banks and posits them not to speculate on the past but to tap into contemporary concerns about copyright, digitization, and the foreign ownership of national heritage.

please note: three related photo/text works are also available - Corbis vs. Mozambique (2012) and Getty vs. Kenya vs. Corbis (2012) and Musee Royal de l'Afrique Centrale vs Getty vs DR Congo (2015).


Getty vs. Ghana (2012), 8 photographs + 4 framed text panels
Installation dimensions apxm. 2 x 2 metres/6.5 x 6.5 feet

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