Ulrik Tofte

Photographer & Videographer
   
The key is not to blink
Location: denmark
Nationality: Danish
Biography:     Ulrik was born in Denmark,1974, studied Photography and film at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and Aesthetics and Culture at the University of Aarhus, Denmark. He has been working professionally for 10 years with... read on
Public Story
The key is not to blink
Copyright ulrik tofte 2021
Date of Work 04/01/14 - Ongoing
Updated 12/11/18

I have always been curious about how other people live especially people somehow different from my middleclass upbringing. When you start questioning yourself in relation to the world there is no end to all the interesting topics one could address. It could be our norms, values, symbols, and even our sex that defines our possibilities. Even so natural to us that we do not think about them or even consider challenging them. In other words: what interests mein my work  is how the mixture of cultural codes influences and affects us in relation to other people. It was with that perspective I went to the north of Ghana with a Danish NGO working there. 


The key is not to blink – Dreaming in Ghana
When I visited Tamele in the North, everybody was talking about economic growth and increased prosperity in Africa, and Ghana was on paper moving towards middleclass. Was it positive thinking or was it really happening? Tamale was the fastest growing city in west Africa, so a perfect place to start a project that focused on the cultural, economic and social change taking place in Africa.
My focus was on the young people in Northern Ghana; the society they live in, and the personal and family relationships and structures, which they are a part of. Faith is not only a matter of luck but since the future belongs to them but what limitations do they experience? What do they dream of? Even though Ghana is considered a democracy with a majority of Christians, the north and Tamale is still clan-dominated primarily by elderly Muslims with strong traditions that decides everything. How did those strong tradition influence the young people? It could easily become a balancingact between cultural heritage and the dream of a new modern life.
But dreams and aspirations are one thing. Reality is another, especially when unemployment rates are high. One of the young men I met was the butcher Alhassan Abdul Latif. He dreamt of leaving thebutcher business. But butcher business is family business. It is something that you inherited through generations. It is hard work 12-16 hours a day.
My goal is to visit the same people again to see how they developed. I made interview with a lot of the people I photographed, so it could be interesting to see how things are going 5 years after.
You should also watch the two videos I made in this project.  

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The Noble Kebab shop

By Ulrik Tofte — The story about a roadside grill in the north of Ghana. Nabila is the owner of the "The Noble Kebab shop"...
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