Makiyah Moody (MM): What is your name and what does it mean?
Lucas Henry (LH): Right. My name is Lucas Henry and Lucas means delight.
MM: And where's your birthplace and where do you live presently?
LH: Right, so I was born in the Eastern Region and am currently living in Accra.
MM: What's the name of your business?
LH: So, my business name is my name which is Lucas Henry and I added image to it. My full business name is Lucas Henry Image.
MM: And when and why did you start Lucas Henry Image?
LH: Right so I started the business in the year 2015. So, a little backstory for how my business came about. I finished secondary school and I came to Accra. I finished my secondary school in the Volta Region and I came to Accra.
I was coming from a background where day in and day out, you have to be in survival mode. Survival mode in the sense that everything you do, your life depends on it. So you will have to work harder each and every day to earn something to survive. So, I came to Accra knowing noboby apart from my mom…and uh, there was a friend I met on Facebook who introduced me to his friend because I do graphic design. So, by meeting this person, he ended up saying okay, “I've seen your results. Your results is good. It’s because of financial situations that is why you should be looking for a means to earn money. So, what will happen is I will support you go to a university. What do you want to learn?”
And I explained to him what my desire was. I was actually going in for graphic communications, because I was good in graphic design already. But life happens.
So, this person wanted to help me, and I helped him a bit in his business because I do graphics, design flyers and stuff. But the time for him to enroll me in university came and we were to buy forms. But it never happened because in his mind… later on I got to know that he wasn't really into me to support, but he was rather into his business -- wanting me to help his business.
So, what happened was the time came for us to purchase the forms and do the application. He told me the next day. I called several times, and he didn’t answer at that instance. When I came to the office the next day, I was open to anything I could do to earn money and to further my education. So, he was like am I interested in photography? And I was like, yeah, so long as it’s art, I can do it. And he went online, he got a short course which was for six months and the deadline was next week Monday. And we were searching the slot or the school on Friday. So the next week Monday was their deadline and he called the school making inquiries. The following Monday, he gave me half tuition which at that time was 1,200 cedis and the half was the 600 cedis, he gave it to me to pay.
Long story short, I started the school. He didn’t fulfill his promises. I had to work my ass out and pay the rest of the bills. Whatever I had to do to be able to finish, I did. I had to work in the school to be able to pay the rest of my fees. I mean, so when I finished I started helping my colleagues in a bit and through that I established myself through photography.
This photography business I started, I didn’t want it to be a standalone. I wanted it to be a little bit attached to me because it's very dear to me. The reason I started it is quite dear to me so I wanted it to be attached so I use my name. And I added an image. The image stands for whatever that I do…whatever result that I produce out of photography, it must mean something to the person that I am producing it for, and the image is a result that I produce each and every time.
MM: What's one thing about being a business owner that you didn't expect?
LH: It’s a struggle to make ends meet because working in Ghana and being an entrepreneur in Ghana is quite stressful. Reason being is that the things that we are supposed to get to push us, we don’t get. Day in day out our government institutions… especially being an entrepreneur in Ghana is extremely difficult.
I had no idea this is how it is, and nobody tells you. I mean, the advice is (to) be on your own and you can make it, but the truth is, you have to be extremely disciplined to be on your own to be able to make it in our space.
MM: What's the best advice you have received as a business owner?
LH: In photography one person told me before that be disciplined and make your camera your passport and you can go everywhere. And I think that has happened. The first trip I had was because of photography. That was one of the best advice I ever got: get disciplined and make your camera your passport.
MM: How has travel served as a portal to your transformation? What new ideas or insights has it sparked for you?
LH: Right so before I was doing portrait photography and few of events, and I met a friend of mine. My schoolmate was in Tamale and a friend of his was coming from the States to do a documentary and I was invited to be the photographer for the documentary. That was the first that I moved as a photographer to doing a project in the documentary world.
After that this person introduced me to a travel agency he works with which is Uprise Travel. Right? And through these people, I was able to travel out of my country to a different space -- country -- to be able to have an external experience. That was the first time I've ever traveled using my work, as in my craft -- photography. And this has changed the narrative as to how we see the perspective of how we see things, or I see things in terms of the greater world. So yes, this travel with photography has given me a different dynamic in terms of how my photography works or how I see my photography work.
MM: Ten years from now in 2033 give us a glimpse of where you think you'll be.
LH: Well, I want Lucas Henry Image to be a global name, and not just a global name, but a very respected, very beautiful one, of course.
MM: Thank you. My bonus question: Is there anything that you want people in the world to know about Ghana?
LH: Yeah, I do. Ghana is a very lovely place and contains one of… Ghana is one of the centers of the historic nature of the world. If you talk of history and especially in quotes “the slave trade,” one of the centers in the world that holds a history of the world when it comes to the slave trade is Ghana. It is a center where the diasporants can trace to know themselves much better.
Ghana is one of the peaceful nations I have known because this is where I'm born. And I was born here and traveled to other places. Looking at the cultural exchange or cultural differences, I could say my place is one of the most lovely places. If you want to visit, you should make it a point. It should be on your bucket list, of course. Yeah.
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