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24-year-old photographer, Michael Aboya secures $25,000 for Best Photo of 2019

A Ghanaian self-taught photographer, clinched the esteemed Best Photo of the Year 2019 award at the Agora Awards ceremony held in Barcelona, Spain.

His compelling image titled “Songs of Freedom,” which captured the exuberance of boys engrossed in the joy of music, secured the top position, earning him a significant grand prize of $25,000.

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Below is a story about his prize by face2faceafrica.com as published on November 14, 2019:

Ghanaian self-taught photographer Michael Aboya emerged victorious at the Agora Awards ceremony in Barcelona, Spain, claiming the Best Photo of the Year 2019 award.

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His captivating image titled “Songs of Freedom,” featuring boys immersed in the joy of music, secured the top spot and earned him a substantial grand prize of $25,000.

Aboya’s photo garnered over 500,000 votes during the nine-month competition, which saw more than 130,000 submissions from 193 countries worldwide.

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His winning image was selected from 50 finalists and voted as the Best Photo of the Year.

Aboya said the idea for ‘Songs of Freedom’ was birthed while he was listening to Bob Marley’s ‘Redemption Song’. He was propelled to bring the song back to life.

“I moved to the beach a few hours after listening to the song and gathered a group of kids to pose for the camera. A kid in particular had the most expression among them and became the focus of the image,” he said.

‘Songs of Freedom’ was shot in La, one of Ghana’s oldest neighbourhoods located in the coastal part of Accra.

‘Songs Of Freedom’, Best Photo of the Year winner.Pic Credit: Michael Aboya – Agora Awards

Reminiscing the sacrifice he made to follow his passion, Aboya said: “This award means a lot to me since it is a prize for the many years of sacrifice, and following my passion.”

Aboya’s love for the arts and photography started in 2014, the year he had to leave school due to the unexpected death of his father. With the money left over after paying for his tuition, he purchased his first professional camera to follow his passion for photography.

For everyone, photographs are an integral part of their lives. They serve as a link to the past, bringing back memories of people, places, emotions, and tales. They also aid in our identity exploration. Aboya, however, hopes to alter people’s perceptions of Ghana and the African continent with his images.

“I believe that when Black and Indigenous People of Colour tell their own stories, they can present the country and continent differently to the world, showing the love, peace, and harmony, and making the bright side a little bit more, putting the dark side behind it. I created this image to emphasize the fact that we have the power to free ourselves from any form of mental, physical, spiritual and emotional captivity,” Aboya said.

“With the prize money, I’ll be able to invest into my photography by getting gearsIi need. I’ll invest into learning videography, putting my visions into moving pictures, visiting new places I have never been to capture the beautiful people and their colorful stories, support my family and give back to the community of youths,” he added.

As per Forbes, the AGORA Awards 2019 are in its third year and are available for both professional and amateur photographers to register for free. Without regard to any photography genre categories, it honors the one most voted photo of the year.

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