Derrick Koomson, better known as Kofi Shelby, is a professional photographer renowned for his unique street photography that captures the spirit of humanity. Born and raised in Kumasi, Ghana, Kofi’s passion for photography began at a young age and has only grown over the years.
As a child, Kofi loved the outdoors, playing and exploring the streets of his hometown. It was during his early teen years that he discovered the art of photography. He quickly fell in love with street photography in particular, drawn to the rawness and authenticity of capturing candid moments of people in public spaces.
Now in his 30s, Kofi’s photography career has taken him around the world, photographing streets from Accra to Paris to Tokyo. Yet his heart remains in Kumasi, where he often returns to capture the vibrancy of its markets, communities, and people.
“I love adventure and discovering the stories of humanity,” Kofi explains. “My aim with street photography is to give the viewer a window into the spirit of the people and places I photograph. I want my photos to make you feel like you are right there on the streets, interacting with the subjects yourself.”
Kofi’s unique style is marked by his ability to capture emotional depth and motion in a single frame. His compositions often focus on intriguing characters – a dancing child, a pensive old man, a mother and daughter at play. Yet he also has a gift for capturing quieter moments that reveal the poetry of everyday life.
“The streets are filled with so much life and activity,” says Kofi. “As a photographer, I’m searching for those unscripted scenes that you couldn’t recreate if you tried. That one candid look that summarizes a person’s essence.”
In addition to street scenes, Kofi is also known for his portrait photography and documentary projects centered around communities in Ghana. A series on cocoa farmers earned him wide acclaim for illuminating the hard work and spirit of perseverance that supports one of Ghana’s most iconic industries.
When not traveling for photographic projects, Kofi is based out of a studio in Kumasi, where he works on developing his extensive archive of street photography. He hopes to turn his collections into published books that allow a wider audience to experience the humanity he has captured through his lens.
Kofi Koomson’s photography has been featured in exhibitions around Ghana, with some select pieces showing internationally as well. As his career continues to flourish, Kofi remains committed to his roots in Kumasi and documenting Ghanaian culture and people through heartfelt storytelling photographs.
“Photography is a powerful tool for building connections and spreading stories,” says Kofi. “If my photos can help open people’s eyes to new corners of the world and create empathy for one another, then I’ve done my job.”