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A Sentimental Look at Coastal Life in the West African Country

I typically don’t take staged images,” says Accra–based photographer Jessica Sarkodie. “My focus is on people and stories that are often underrepresented, so I really try to capture things as they are.” The 25-year-old photographer has a practiced eye when it comes to discovering the remarkable in the quotidian. Much of her tender, vibrant work explores the nuances of everyday life in her native Ghana, where she returned to in June 2016 after attending college in the United States. Sarkodie credits her time abroad with a sharpened perspective of her homeland, and more broadly, with strengthened powers of observation. “When I made that transition back, I noticed a lot of things that I overlooked because I’d always had it around me,” she says. “Returning to Ghana made things stand out to me in a way that they hadn’t before.” That heightened perception manifests itself in shots of the country’s unspoiled beaches, where even footprints in the sand feel like novelty, and in photos of the many working fishermen, who act as synecdoche for the country’s coastal setting. “Oftentimes, what regular people are doing seems so mundane that it goes unnoticed. I just try to be attentive to that,” says Sarkodie. We asked her to guide us through the below photographs, which tap into just that—Ghana’s quieter, oft-unseen corners—for a rich, real view of the country.