The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Kojo Kamau

Share on Social Media

Information about Kojo Kamau

Profile image of Kojo Kamau

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Photographer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Pudding (Bread)
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Africa
Favorite Quote:
Always Remember What You Do Today Is Tomorrow's History.

Birthplace

Born:
10/11/1939
Birth Location:
Columbus, Ohio

Profession

Category:
ArtMakers
Occupation(s):
Photographer

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Pudding (Bread)
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Africa
Favorite Quote:
Always Remember What You Do Today Is Tomorrow's History.

Birthplace

Born:
10/11/1939
Birth Location:
Columbus
See how Kojo Kamau is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Photographer Kojo Kamau was born on October 11, 1939 in Columbus Ohio to Robert Jones, a railroad worker and Elizabeth Patterson, a housewife. Kamau grew interested in photography from an early age and bought his first camera when he was a teenager. He graduated from East High School in Columbus, Ohio in 1957 and went on to study at the Columbus Art School (now the Columbus College of Art and Design). In 1960, Kamau joined the United States Air Force where he worked as a information specialist editing the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base newspaper.

After four years of service, Kamau returned to Columbus and began working for the Ohio State University’s School of Medical Professions (now the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences) as a photographer in the medical illustration department. In 1974, Kamau began photographing one of his favorite subjects, the legendary barber and woodcutter Elijah Pierce. Kamau opened the Kojo Photo Art Studio in 1978 with his late wife, Mary Ann Williams. Williams was the host of WOSU’s TV program “Afromation.” On the set, Kamau was able to photograph many local and national celebrities. Disturbed by the negative images of African Americans in the ‘60s and ‘70s, he used his photography to show positive images of African Americans and people of the African Diaspora. Kamau first travelled to Africa in 1978, and has made eleven subsequent trips. In 1979, Kamau and Williams established the Art for Community Expression (ACE) non-profit venture to help promote African American artists. ACE was also able to sponsor trips to Africa for three local artists. In 1986, ACE opened its own gallery in Columbus, Ohio. Kamau retired from his position as chief medical photographer at the Ohio State University in 1994 and became a photography instructor at Columbus State Community College in 1997. Kamau published a book of photographs, entitled Columbus Remembered in 2006. Three years later, the Columbus Museum of Art celebrated Kamau’s seventieth birthday with an exhibition entitled, “Kojo: Fifty Years of Photography.” Kamau’s photographs are in the permanent collections of the Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus Metropolitan Library and the Columbus Foundation. His photographs were exhibited throughout the United States, including the Indianapolis Art Center, Dillard University, Bowling Green State University, Northern Kentucky University, Ohio Wesleyan University, Akron University, Ohio University, the Chicago Center of Science and Industry and the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. His work was also exhibited internationally at the Gallery 44 Center for Contemporary photography in Toronto, Canada; during Culturefest ‘93 in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, West Africa; and the Central Bank of the Bahamas in Nassau, Bahamas.

Kamau was recognized numerous times for his photography and commitment to the community. He received the 2006 Ohioanna Library Career Award and the 2004 Columbus Winterfair Award of Excellence. Kamau was a member of the Columbus Museum of Art and Ohio Designer Craftsmen. He lived in Columbus, Ohio.

Kojo Kamau was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on April 5, 2012.

Kamau passed away on December 12, 2016 at age 77.

See how Kojo Kamau is related to other HistoryMakers
Loading...
Click Here To Explore The Archive Today!
  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Kojo Kamau's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Kojo Kamau lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Kojo Kamau describes his mother's family background, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Kojo Kamau describes his mother's family background, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Kojo Kamau describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Kojo Kamau talks about his family members' professions
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Kojo Kamau talks about his brother and stepfather
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Kojo Kamau remembers his homes in Columbus, Ohio
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Kojo Kamau describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Kojo Kamau recalls his childhood pastimes
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Kojo Kamau describes his early interest in photography
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Kojo Kamau remember his early educational experiences
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Kojo Kamau remembers Garfield Elementary School in Columbus, Ohio
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Kojo Kamau describes his early influences
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Kojo Kamau remembers his junior high school experiences in Columbus, Ohio
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Kojo Kamau talks about his coursework at East High School in Columbus, Ohio
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Kojo Kamau remembers his radio teacher at East High School in Columbus, Ohio
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Kojo Kamau remembers his extracurricular activities at East High School in Columbus, Ohio
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Kojo Kamau remembers working for the newspaper companies in Columbus, Ohio
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Kojo Kamau talks about his employment prospects after high school
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Kojo Kamau remembers his stepfather
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Kojo Kamau recalls his position at the Columbus Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Kojo Kamau talks about his photographs of Columbus, Ohio
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Kojo Kamau recalls the African American photographers in Columbus, Ohio
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Kojo Kamau describes his decision to enlist in the U.S. Air Force
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Kojo Kamau talks about his newspaper position at the Myrtle Beach Air Force Base in South Carolina
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Kojo Kamau describes his experiences of racial discrimination in South Carolina
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Kojo Kamau remembers segregation in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Kojo Kamau recalls working as medical photographer at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Kojo Kamau talks about his volunteer work at the Call and Post
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Kojo Kamau remembers meeting his wife
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Kojo Kamau talks about his photographs of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Kojo Kamau remembers photographing Roland Kirk
  • Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Kojo Kamau remembers his wife's television show, 'Afromation'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Kojo Kamau describes Art for Community Expression
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Kojo Kamau talks about the African immigrant community in Columbus, Ohio
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Kojo Kamau remembers Elijah Pierce
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Kojo Kamau talks about the black artists in Columbus, Ohio
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Kojo Kamau describes his artistic philosophy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Kojo Kamau talks about digital photography
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Kojo Kamau reflects upon his wife's legacy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Kojo Kamau talks about the arts community in Columbus, Ohio
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Kojo Kamau talks about his exhibit, 'Kojo: Fifty Years in Photographs'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Kojo Kamau reflects upon the response to his photographs
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Kojo Kamau talks about his teaching position at Columbus State Community College in Columbus, Ohio
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Kojo Kamau reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Kojo Kamau describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Kojo Kamau shares his advice to future generations
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Kojo Kamau talks about his son
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Kojo Kamau describes The King Arts Complex in Columbus, Ohio
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Kojo Kamau describes how he would like to be remembered