Muntaka Chasant is an entrepreneur, researcher, and a professional documentary photographer based in Accra, Ghana.
His work centers around the core challenges of sustainability, urban marginality, new and emerging challenges, including the “three planetary crises” of climate change, biodiversity loss, and pollution.
Rethinking Urban Marginality to Emphasize the Processes that Create it
For Muntaka.com, I mostly explore the theme of urban suffering and intervene where necessary — in the discharge of my duty to society.
My works in the urban setting are guided by several concepts and theories, including Edward Soja’s spatial justice theory; justice has a geography, and that the equitable distribution of resources, services, and access is a basic human right.
At the urban frontline, I attempt to emphasize how locational discrimination caused by biases imposed on high poverty areas due to their geographical location produces the injustices that reflect the lived experiences of the urban poor.
Loïc Wacquant’s urban marginality enjoins the viewer — photographically — to conceptualize an intense poverty area such as the small part of the Old Fadama below (illustrating a lack of provision of proper infrastructure as a spatial injustice) as an identified, bounded, increasingly isolated, and impoverished territory.
Key urban actors have often perceived a place such as the Old Fadama as some sort of “social purgatory,” — as Wacquant put it himself.
But basic infrastructure and services in Ghana, for instance, are guaranteed and delivered by the state. So, the urban poor cannot be responsible for the condition under which they live.
These theoretical tools frequently guide how I frame my subjects — in a way that urges the viewer to rethink urban inequality and reimagine a place such as the Old Fadama as a site of spatial injustice.
Consequently, my photography seeks to articulate the lived experiences of the urban poor — with the ultimate goal of contributing to the contemporary debates about justice, space, and the city.
“Fellowship With The Defeated”
Having spent a great deal of my young adult life wandering through some of the world’s most extreme places, I’m dedicating the rest of my youth at the urban frontline. To capture contemporary urban realities, dig deeper into the trenches of urban struggle, and collects firsthand stories of people on the front lines.
Dr. Rieux’s response to Tarrou in The Plague sums up how I feel about my subject.
I feel more fellowship with the defeated than with saints.THE PLAGUE, ALBERT CAMUS
The pandemic is a difficult time for everyone. Feel free to say hello to me via the email — hello[at]muntaka.com — or the contact form below, and I promise to get back to you within 24 hours.
Good luck and stay safe!