Africa is changing.

All over the continent you see a growth in the middle-class and with that follows a focus on the individual. Ghana is not there yet, but you see small changes. This series tries to focus on the growing individuality, where personal ambition, expectations and dreams exceed the basic necessities.

I wanted to portray the ordinary people we meet on the streets and show a moment where you see the individual. An absence, deeply lost within themselves and maybe revealing something for us.

The series also includes images of kids we met during our stay. We tend to look at children in Africa from a Western perspective, making them the victims instead of seeing the strength they have. I saw their strength — to participate in society and family life creates strong individuals.

The identity work that Ghanaians are facing as a result of a thriving middle-class culture is not without problems as I see it. The cultural development that we in the West have undergone is historically rooted and something that has taken place over decades.

In Ghana the technical developments are occurring rapidly — over a few very quick years — with the risk of losing the original culture and adopting only pop culture.

—Ulrik Tofte

Editor’s Note: 
The first image in this series was awarded Third Prize in the Single Image Category at the LensCulture Portrait Awards 2014.