IAN BERRY: GHANA’S DISPOSABLE CHILDREN

Ian Berry's book, 'Sold Into Slavery ' explores how in Ghana children as young as 4 or 5 are sold by their parents to local fishermen.

By Balthazar Malevolent

IAN BERRY: GHANA’S DISPOSABLE CHILDREN

On Lake Volta in Ghana, children as young as 4 or 5 are sold by their parents to local fishermen. This practice has been going on in the region for centuries. Children are useful to fishermen for their nimble fingers which are used, amongst other things, to unpick nets. After being sold into slavery to the fishermen, they receive no education, work long hours and are generally not well treated, living off leftover food from the adults’ table.

Ian Berry was born in Lancashire, England. He made his reputation in South Africa, where he worked for the Daily Mail and later for Drum magazine. He was the only photographer to document the massacre at Sharpeville in 1960, and his photographs were used in the trial to prove the victims’ innocence.

Henri Cartier-Bresson invited Ian Berry to join Magnum in 1962 when he was based in Paris. He moved to London in 1964 to become the first contract photographer for the Observer Magazine. Since then assignments have taken him around the world: he has documented Russia’s invasion of Czechoslovakia; conflicts in Israel, Ireland, Vietnam and the Congo; famine in Ethiopia; apartheid in South Africa. The major body of work produced in South Africa is represented in two of his books: Black and Whites: L’Afrique du Sud (with a foreword by the then French president François Mitterrand), and Living Apart (1996). During the last year, projects have included child slavery in Ghana and the Spanish fishing industry.

Important editorial assignments have included work for National GeographicFortuneSternGeo, national Sunday magazines, EsquireParis-Match and LIFE. Ian Berry has also reported on the political and social transformations in China and the former USSR.

"The great single picture is emotionally satisfying, whereas getting a good journalistic story is more about being a professional"

Material taken from Magnum Photos website.

Ian Berry

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