In his latest series, Kojo Anim explores the everyday complexities of growing up as an identical twin
While twins are often believed to be a blessing, in some communities they are viewed as a burden, a bad omen or a curse.
For 22-year-old photographer Kojo Anim, this mentality has been a lifelong fascination – especially given he’s a twin himself. Luckily, by the time Anim was born, attitudes towards twins had mostly shifted positively in his home country of Ghana. But Anim’s interest in what life could have been like had he been born at a different time in history – or another place in the world – was piqued.
“As part of my research on the history of twins in the early 1900s, I learned that negative perceptions were common. Fortunately for me, twins have been seen in a positive light since I was born,” he says. “While growing up, I experienced positive feedback and comments about being a twin; and I have used my art to demonstrate the blessing of being a twin.”
Anim’s work expresses “his dreams for himself and his country”, achieving this through conceptualism, symbolism and, at times, provocation. He welcomes us to look closer and examine hidden meanings and messages that are often camouflaged amongst natural, dreamy settings and evocative black-and-white tones.
Using his camera to examine twins, Anim experiments with angles and shadows to represent a duality in his frames. “I design the set to give the feeling of the perception of more than one person in the frame,” he says. Anim doesn’t shy away from the historical, negative beliefs surrounding multiple births either, and poses his models “provocatively [to] reflect the perception of twins as taboo.”
Anim’s love for photography began when he was just ten years old, eyeing up his brother’s camera with curiosity, yearning to understand how the object could capture the world around him. “When I learned how the flash of the light and the ‘click’ sound of the camera created the images, I became addicted to photography to a point where my dreams filled with images for my projects,” he says.
His examination of twins – whether it’s the taboos that surround them or the blessings they are believed to bring – will be ongoing, potentially lifelong. Especially given that countries like Madagascar (particularly the Antambahoaka tribe) still look upon twins as taboo. “Since meeting other twins, my feelings have gotten stronger about continuing to tell the twins’ story to ensure that those difficult times would not be repeated,” he says. “I believe it is my mission to show images of twins using a variety of perspectives and creative photography.”
“I continue to dream of my projects and breathe life into the images through the camera lens, which has been and continues to be an extension of me. Everything I experience with my camera allows me to communicate the complexity of the Ghanaian culture in relation to the world around us.”