Christian Gaul: “A Head of Time”, a photographic series portraying the daily life of the Zungueiros in the city of Accra, the capital of Ghana.

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After decades I have concluded that the ultimate portrait, for me, is the head – only it.

Video presentation of the photographic series “A Head of Time” by Christian Gaul.

A Head of Time is a photographic series in which Christian Gaul follows the daily life of the zungueiros, street vendors who roam the bustling city of Accra, the capital of Ghana. Carrying bowls or other receptacles atop their heads, these vendors are the modern-day inheritors of a tradition rooted in the colonial era of the 17th century, reminiscent of the historical quitandeiros—small-scale traders engaged in street vending. Gaul used the same photographic technique that distinguishes his fashion portfolio to capture the essence of this centuries-old African practice.

At my core, I am a portraitist—I’ve explored it from every angle, unclothed, adorned; yet, after decades of this pursuit, I’ve arrived at a singular conclusion: the quintessential portrait, in my view, centers on the head—solely the head. My dialogues unfold through faces. There’s an unparalleled joy in contemplating a face—a love affair with every facial contour, akin to gazing upon diverse landscapes. To me, these are landscapes that narrate stories, contemplate, converse, perspire, furrow in thought, and meet my gaze. It’s the narrative of our connections, fundamentally intertwined with that specific part of the body.

Christian Gaul

Christian Gaul
A Head of Time, 2020

By Into.Gallery | November 2023

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