What you need to know:
- The winners of Best Night Life Photographers in 2017 were in 2018 named as the Most Influential Young Ghanaians.
- The twins, who also run Swag of Africa brand, intend to collaborate with creatives from East Africa.
Twins don’t beg (Twinsdntbeg) from Ghana are among the most sought-after photographers in Africa.
The 30-year-old twin brothers, Samuel Appiah Gyan and Emmanuel Appiah Gyan have worked with several high-profile personalities both in Ghana and internationally including Stonebwoy, Efya, Jackie Appiah, Becca, Akosua Vee, Efya and DKB.
Internationally they have covered Barbadian singer Rihanna, American actor Jamie Foxx and Kenyan Actress Lupita Nyong’o among others during the 51st Edition of the National Association of Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Image Award, 2020.
The twins are currently in Kenya where they were the official photographers at the Entrepreneur Fashion Week event.
Nation.Africa caught up with them for an exclusive one-on-one interview.
The twins were born in Kumasi in the Ashanti Region of Ghana. Growing up the family of five children encountered many challenges as their parents were not well off.
“We did not come from a wealthy home. Growing up was difficult, we saw all the challenges our parents went through to give us education,” Samuel recalls.
Samuel attributes their hard work to the challenges they went through as children.
Love for photography
“It’s part of the reason why we work so hard to get to wherever we want to get to,” he says.
After their high school education, the twins joined Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), in Kumasi, where Emmanuel studied Agriculture and Landscape Management while Samuel pursued Architecture.
Their love for photography began in 2015 when they were hired to be personal assistants for Ghanaian film director Nana Obiri Yeboah and Nicholas K. Lory British film producer and cinematographer who were in Ghana for two months working on a film called The cursed ones.
“When we were on set, we were always asking questions and the producer who is a renowned cinematographer was glad to help. That is where our interest in photography started,” Emmanuel says.
During their time working as PAs, the twins also met British actor Oris Erhuero, popular known for his roles in the movie The Adventure of Sinbad, who was also a cast in the film The Cursed One.
With about 70 percent top-up from Erhuero, the brothers used the money they made from their works as PAs to purchase their first camera.
Samuel and Emmanuel turned to YouTube to learn the art of photography and to date they appreciate the role of social media in their career growth.
“We created social media pages in different platforms and kept posting our work as our followers grew in number. Our social media presence made it easy for people to identify us anywhere we went. Social media also helped us get feedback for the work we posted online,” Emmanuel says.
Their career grew steadily when Emmanuel became the official cinematographer and the social media handler for Mrs Samira Bawumia, the wife of the Vice President of Ghana, Mahamudu Bawumia.
Until 2017, Samuel was also the cinematographer of the President Ghana Nana Akufo Addo.
However, the one gig that made them big in the industry was in February 2020 during NAACP Image awards which was held in California, USA and aired on BET.
They photographed celebrities such as Rihanna, Jamie Foxx and Michael B. Jordan.
Twinsdntbeg were the official photographers for the 2020 Miss Universe Ghana, and they proceeded to cover the international show in Bangkok, Thailand.
They also covered Ghana Music Awards 2017, Ghana Meets Naija, Afrimma Awards, and the Miss Malaika 2017 pageant.
“We had the opportunity to meet Jamie Foxx. He hosted us at his residence and we did an amazing photo shoot with him. It was huge! It made news all over the world,” recalls Emmanuel.
The winners of Best Night Life Photographers in 2017 were in 2018 named as the Most Influential Young Ghanaians.
Origin of stage name
Their name Twins don’t beg (Twinsdntbeg) was meant to be their stage name when they started out as musicians.
“As musicians, we were going to producers to take our demos but nobody helped. We went to one producer who said certain things to us that got us to our lowest. It was then that we decided we won’t beg anyone for any opportunity. That is where the name came from,“ says Samuel.
Just like with many other creatives around the world, the coronavirus pandemic has hit their careers hard. They had events planned for the year but with the pandemic and global lockdown, they had no choice but to cancel these events.
“Covid-19 largely paralysed our work. You cannot do photography at home, you need a one-to-one contact with your subject or object. With Covid, people were stressed, people were concentrating on surviving. Nobody was interested in taking pictures, everybody was concentrating on surviving. That really affected our work. We also had to cancel bookings as we could not travel,” Samuel adds.
The twins, who also run Swag of Africa brand, intend to collaborate with creatives from East Africa.
“We would like to work with the fashion and music industry in Kenya. Kenya and East Africa is one part we are interested in exploring partnerships. It is the reason we actually came to Kenya,” says Samuel.
Apart from the great weather in Kenya, Twinsdntbeg also love Kenyan women. However, anyone wanting to date them should be ready to accommodate their busy schedule that has kept them away from the dating game.
“We move around a lot and that affects our relationships. Kenya has very beautiful girls and we wouldn’t mind dating girls from this region if destiny aligned,” says Samuel.