EDIT: Thanks so much for your questions! It was a joy answering them. For More information on Dikan Center check out; www.dikancenter.org

Hi! I am Paul Ninson, a photographer and filmmaker from Ghana. For the past two years, I have been buying and collecting about 30,000 photography books and media books while studying Photojournalism in New York to set up Dikan Center (Ghana’s first photo library and learning center). Through Humans of New York, I have raised $1 million dollars to build the center. You can read more about my story that was featured on Humans of New York here. Ask me any question.

Proof: https://i.redd.it/z1nn1pmsctn71.jpg

Comments: 80 • Responses: 22  • Date: 

Leenzlions204 karma

I loved reading your story on Humans of New York and congrats on raising that much money so far! What’s the biggest obstacle you’re facing in terms of building the Dikan center right now?

nationalgeographic133 karma

thank you! I think the workload involved and the number of resources needed to build Dikan Center. Building the center is one side of it and running the center is another side of the puzzle. I am still learning.

LGLakeram93 karma

Paul, your story on HONY was incredible to read and congratulations on all your success. What advice do you have young folks around the world who might be interested in photography?

nationalgeographic82 karma

thank you. My advice will be to focus! Focus! be a disciple to learn the craft. Learn, read and practice taking more pictures. Don't give up! When i started photography, i was taking 200 pictures a day. I stop playing games, I was reading alot, I was watching alot of tutorial, and studying alot of pictures. I wanted to be a national geographic photographer so i will watch any Natgeo.

Plusminusplusle53 karma

Hi Paul, I read your story on HONY, so nice to see you on reddit!

This isn't related to photography, but I'm curious- what was the biggest cultural difference you found between Ghana and the US? Was it difficult to adjust?

nationalgeographic70 karma

Thank you!

I think the sense of community is different between Ghana and the US. That's my opinion.

floridafolkist46 karma

Are you going to offer, through Dikan, the opportunity for people to assist upcoming Ugandan photographers in obtaining a camera?

If someone wanted to donate a camera to Dikan to give out to a photographer, are there any model / option / pricing requirements that you’d request the donator keep in mind?

nationalgeographic77 karma

At the Dikan center, we will be teaching photography. It is my dream to expand the program across the 55 countries in Africa. We are currently seeking cameras, ipads and computers for such programs. You can donate through our website https://www.dikancenter.org/donation. Any functioning camera is welcome.

copabu42 karma

Paul- your HONY story was amazing!! What did your daughter think of the response to your story?

nationalgeographic56 karma

Thank you! She is very happy about the response to the story. Its a story of a father, a mother and a daughter i think

amyteyguy35 karma

Great progress! What is your favorite picture that you have either taken or seen of Ghana?

nationalgeographic62 karma

Thank you. I think pictures from Umoja women are some of my favorite. https://www.paulninson.com/village-with-no-men-umoja-women

-stayHard-34 karma

Why do you do what you do? And I'm proud of you.

nationalgeographic62 karma

Thank you! Because I want every young one in Africa to have the opportunity to visual storytelling. I want to help increase the number of Africans telling stories in the region.

-stayHard-16 karma

Yeah. That's great. I can learn that from you and probably do that for my own country. Thanks.

nationalgeographic25 karma

That will be great. Little by little, we can all contribute to the development of others. Keep going...

-stayHard-12 karma

Thanks. Have a nice day ahead my friend.

nationalgeographic9 karma

Thank you!!

phototrash26 karma

Mr. Ninson, I eagerly followed your story on HONY and I’ve been enthralled by your work since! I have two questions for you, if you wouldn’t mind!

The first, how can I support you and your work other than the $100 prints on your website or directly donating? I’m a student so it’s a little out of my budget, but something like postcards that I can show to friends and family?

The other: how’s your family doing, particularly your daughter and mother? :)

nationalgeographic29 karma

Thank you so much. this means a lot to me. First, you can reach out to us through our website; https://www.dikancenter.org/donation, let us know what skills you can contribute to Dikan. We are actively looking for voluteers.

Thank you for assking. My family is doing well.

rabbitearz9320 karma

Hi Paul! You are a true inspiration! When you think about the Dikan Center ten years from now, what does that look like in your mind? What is your biggest goal or dream for it?

nationalgeographic27 karma

Thank you! My goal is to rent a space in Ghana to start whiles we build the main center. So I am hoping the center will start running by next year on a small scale. My goal is to make visual education accessible to every African.

MC65017 karma

Hi Paul, actively working photographer out here. How do you transition work from personal projects into something lucrative, while still feeling good about it?

nationalgeographic28 karma

I think personal projects are important. Keep showcasing your projects to the right people. Even today, I still send 20 emails a week to editors, and people who hire photographers. One door leads to the other.

2wice_the_Wise17 karma

Have you ever refused to capture a moment just because it was so beautiful that it must only be witnessed through your eyes?

nationalgeographic24 karma

Not yet. having been a photographer for four years, I am always documenting unless I don't have a camera with me.

Grouchy_Thing16 karma

Was very moved by your story and am glad to see how much has been raised so far. What's one piece of advice you'd give to a new photographer starting out?

nationalgeographic12 karma

thank you. My advice will be to focus! Focus! be a disciple to learn the craft. Learning, read and practice taking more pictures. Don't give up!

NOSlurpy12 karma

What drew you to photography in the first place? What sparked you interest in exposing more of your countrymen and women to photography? Also I really like your glasses!

nationalgeographic19 karma

I was drawn to photography as a medium of expression and also as a means to provide for myself and my family. I think I want more of my people to have and experience what I have. I have come to realise the power of visual storytelling and what it can be used for. Thank you, my daughter picked it for me.

Msdtra10 karma

Hello! I’m sorry if this has been asked before but what is your favorite camera to shoot with? I know when it comes down to it a good camera man can use what ever is on hand and still make it work, but if you got the option what would you go with? (Personally I like older cannons although the new ones are nice)

nationalgeographic17 karma

Yea. the best camera is the one you have. I am not big on camera but I think I am looking at buying a good mirrorless camera.

safarijuice9 karma

Hi Paul!

During your time as a photographer, have you tried shooting photographic film? I would think that a lot of the books you have collected via donation maybe older and showcase photo taken using film. Do you plan to have any education geared toward that medium at the Dikan Center?

I loved your story and will be following along! I would love to visit one day and bring some cameras along!

Thank you!

nationalgeographic12 karma

Thank you for your question. I have tried photographic film a couple of times. Honestly don't know that, I have bought and collected a lot of books and I have not gone through all of them. Yes, I plan to have studios and labs at the center.

Thank you

safarijuice10 karma

That is awesome! I would love to come and share my knowledge about shooting film and developing/scanning. If you have a program for others to come I would be very interested!

Thanks for the reply!

nationalgeographic5 karma

Sure. [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) send us an email and we will take it from there.

TellahTheSage9 karma

Hi Paul! This is the first I'm hearing of Dikan Center, but it looks like an amazing concept.

My question is what role do you see for smartphones in photography in Ghana? Do most people have access to cameras through smartphones or do they have digital or film cameras? Do you think you can teach photography using a smartphone camera?

nationalgeographic9 karma

Thank you.

check www.dikancenter.org for more information. Most Ghanaians have smartphones not many have digital cameras. Yes, our goal is to make photography as simple as possible to Ghanaians and Africans

cirena6 karma

If you could photograph any celebrity, who would it be and how would you want to set up the shot?

nationalgeographic19 karma

Greta Thunberg will be the person. I will use natural light.

andiesaur6 karma

Hi Paul!

Your story was incredibly moving. I have a few questions.

  1. How has your life changed since the HONY story was published?

  2. What first made you start thinking about the idea of the DIKAN center?

nationalgeographic12 karma

Thank you! Yes, my life has changed. Now I have the ability and the space to help others. To encourage more Africans to tell our own story.

JimmyTwoTimesFour5 karma

Would you consider a movie role playing a young James Earl Jones in a flashback scene?

nationalgeographic14 karma

I dont think so. I am photographer and a filmaker